Middle East

Japanese FM discusses de-escalation with Iranian officials

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — Iranian president met Sunday with Japan’s foreign minister in the capital of Tehran and the two discussed de-escalation of tensions in the region, Iranian news agencies reported.

The president’s official website, president.ir, said that Japanese Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi discussed bilateral, regional and international issues with President Ebrahim Raisi.

The two-day visit is the first by a Japanese official since Raisi became Iran’s new president and the first since the Japanese prime minister visited Iran in 2019. ISNA said Motegi is in Tehran at the official invitation of Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif.

The report said Motegi would meet with other Iranian officials, including Raisi’s nominated foreign minister, Hossein Amirabdollahian and other high-ranking officials during his two-day visit.

Iran’s state-run IRNA news agency reported Saturday that Motegi’s visit to Tehran is aimed at boosting bilateral relations with Iran and furthering diplomatic efforts to de-escalate and stabilize the Middle East.

During Sunday’s meeting, Raisi welcomed efforts by Japan and other countries to help establish peace and stability in Afghanistan and the region. “Iran has always supported peace and stability in Afghanistan. Of course, we believe that Afghans should make their own decisions in Afghanistan.”

Raisi said he is opposed to the creation of insecurity in the region, adding: “The presence of Americans in the region, including Afghanistan, has not provided security.”

Motegi said Tokyo also supports diplomatic efforts by regional countries to achieve peace and stability in the region. He said Japan believes problems should be resolved peacefully and through dialogue.

Earlier on Sunday, Motegi met with Zarif and the two also discussed de-escalation of tensions in the region.

Semi-official ISNA news agency report Sunday said Motegi discussed bilateral, regional and international issues with Mohammad Javad Zarif.

In 2019, former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe visited Iran’s top leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei as an interlocutor for former US President Donald Trump, hoping to ease tensions between Washington and Tehran. But Khamenei did not consider Trump worthy of an exchange of messages.

Recently, Japan donated some three million doses of AstraZeneca vaccine to Iran, which has suffered the worst virus outbreak in the Middle East.

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