TOKYO – Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe called on Friday on Iranian President Hassan Rouhani to keep Tehran faithful to the agreement on the country’s nuclear program signed in 2015, of which the United States withdrew last year.
The petition was presented at the meeting held on Friday by Abe and Rouhani, at the beginning of the official two-day visit that the Iranian president began in Tokyo, the first held by a head of state of the Islamic Republic in about two decades.
Rouhani arrived in Tokyo from Malaysia, where he participated this week in a summit of Islamic countries in Kuala Lumpur.
At the beginning of the meeting between Abe and Rouhani, before journalists were invited to leave the room, the Japanese Prime Minister expressed his wishes that Iran “play a constructive role” for the maintenance of peace in the Middle East.
He also requested that Iran fully respect the agreement on the Iranian nuclear program that was signed in 2015 by the Government of Tehran and several world powers.
In that brief exchange of comments in the public part of the meeting, Rouhani also vowed to keep the 2015 nuclear agreement in force and took the opportunity to condemn the United States for leaving the pact last year.
“The nuclear agreement is extremely important for Iran. That is why we strongly condemn the unilateral and irrational withdrawal from the United States,” said Rouhani, who also expressed his hope that “Japan and other countries make efforts” to maintain the pact.
Rouhani’s public agenda on Friday included the interview with Abe and a subsequent gala dinner. A press conference is not planned, as is often the case when a ruler makes an official visit to Japan.
In his daily press conference, Yoshihide Suga, Japanese government spokesman, said that the intention of the Japanese government is to “meticulously” explain to Iran the measures to ensure sea navigation on key routes in the Persian Gulf.
As Suga noted, 90 percent of the oil that Japan imports comes from the Middle East, which is why “the safety of ship navigation is very important.”
Japan, he added, is studying the shipment of units of its Self-Defense Forces to ensure the safety of the route.
“We will explain well the objective of these policies with the related countries so that they understand us well,” Suga added.
In addition to this issue, the agreement in 2015 to guarantee the peaceful purposes of the Iranian nuclear program was mentioned since the beginning of the meeting between Abe and Rouhani.
The United States, one of the countries that signed that agreement under the Barack Obama Administration, abandoned it on May 8, 2018, with Donald Trump installed in the White House, and Iran announced last May that it stopped complying with some commitments.
The meeting between Abe and Rouhani follows the one the Japanese prime minister had in Tehran when he visited the city in June, during attempts for Tokyo to mediate the easing of tensions between Washington and Iran.
The efforts were unsuccessful. In fact, tensions between Washington and Tehran resurfaced as two tankers were attacked in the Strait of Hormuz during Abe’s Tehran visit, one of which belonged to a Japanese shipowner.