Alwaght- Japan is arranging for Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to visit Iran in the near future as the two Asian countries mark 90 years of friendly diplomatic ties, Japan’s government spokesman said on Thursday.
Japanese media has said the visit would take place next week seeking to lower heightened tensions between Tehran and Washington during the trip, but Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga declined to specify a date or say.
“We will make efforts to make it meaningful,” Suga told a regular news conference about the trip, which would make Abe the first sitting Japanese prime minister to visit Iran in more than four decades.
According to Japan’s Kyodo news agency Abe will become the first sitting Japanese prime minister to visit Iran in more than four decades as Tehran and Japan “celebrate their 90th year of diplomatic relations”.
The trip comes amid escalating tension between Iran and the United States and a year after Donald Trump unilaterally pulled the US out of a 2015 nuclear deal with Iran and imposed unilateral economic sanctions against Iran, mainly targeting its energy dealings on the global market.
In early May, the Trump administration beefed up the US’s military presence in the Persian Gulf, citing alleged and unspecified threats posed by the Islamic Republic to American troops and interests.
On a visit to Japan late last month, US President Donald Trump welcomed Abe’s help in dealing with Iran after public broadcaster NHK had said Japan’s leader was considering a trip to Tehran.
Japan is keen to see stability in the West Asia as the bulk of its oil imports come from the region.
The US’s recent deployment of an aircraft carrier, B-52 bombers and Patriot missiles to the Middle East has raised fears that the Trump administration was contemplating military aggression against Iran.
Later that month, however, Trump toned down his highly belligerent rhetoric against Iran and repeated, on several occasion, an offer of talks to Tehran.
Iran has said it would not initiate any conflict with any party, but would defend itself against any aggression.
Tehran also says it will not engage in negotiations with the US as long as Washington refuses to abandon its pressure campaign against the Iranian nation and return to the Iran deal.
On May 23, the Supreme National Security Council (SNSC)’s spokesman Keivan Khosravi said there has been an increase in the number of visits to Tehran by officials from different countries, mostly on behalf of the United States, adding that some of the trips are made public while others remain confidential.