Japanese PM Reportedly Planning to Visit Iran Next Week
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will make a three-day visit to Iran starting June 12, Japanese media have reported. The visit will make Abe the first sitting Japanese prime minister to visit Iran in over four decades, since then-prime minister Takeo Fukuda did so in 1978, a year before the Iranian Revolution of 1979. Japan will reportedly seek to take on a mediator role between Washington and Tehran amid escalating tensions following the Trump Administration’s withdrawal from the 2015 multilateral nuclear pact and its reapplication of sanctions on the Islamic Republic. Japan was not a signatory to the deal but is a close ally of the United States and friendly to Iran, celebrating the 90th anniversary of diplomatic relations with the latter this year. During U.S. President Donald Trump’s May visit to Japan, he welcomed Abe’s help in dealing with Tehran and said during his more recent state visit to the United Kingdom that he’d “rather not” use military action and was prepared to talk to Iranian President Hassan Rouhani. Washington sent an aircraft carrier and strategic bombers to the region last month following attacks against US allies in the Gulf that were allegedly orchestrated by Iran.