TEHRAN – Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe arrived today, June 12, in Tehran with a diplomatic mission hoping to defuse tensions between the United States and the Islamic Republic. Iranian state television broadcast live Abe’s arrival at Tehran’s Mehrabad airport , where the head of the Japanese government was met by Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif .
From the airport, Abe headed for talks with President Hassan Rouhani. The meeting of the Prime Minister of Japan with the Supreme Leader of Iran, Ayatollah Seyid Ali Khamenei, is scheduled for Thursday, June 13. Abe’s arrival was preceded by a visit by Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono, who held talks with his Iranian counterpart behind closed doors.
“Against the background of concerns about growing tension in the Middle East and the international community’s attention to this issue, Japan wants to do everything possible to achieve peace and stability in the region,” Abe told reporters before flying to Tehran.
“Based on the traditional friendly relations between Japan and Iran, I would like to have a frank exchange of views with President Rouhani and supreme leader Khamenei regarding easing tensions,” he added.
Representatives of the Japanese government said earlier that Abe would not present Tehran with a list of demands or deliver a message from the United States. It was emphasized that instead Abe wants to play the role of a “neutral mediator”.
The day before, on June 11, Abe discussed by telephone with US President Donald Trump the situation around Iran.
Shinzo Abe’s visit is the first visit by the Japanese Prime Minister of the Islamic Republic in the past 40 years, although Tokyo and Tehran have friendly relations and celebrate the 90th anniversary of establishing diplomatic relations this year.
“Against the backdrop of a growing escalation in the Middle East, we plan to call on Iran, a regional power, to move towards easing tensions,” said Yoshihide Suga , a representative of the Japanese government, on June 11 .
During a four-day visit to Japan last month, US President Donald Trump welcomed the mediation mission of Shinzo Abe to Iran.
Recall, after a significant aggravation of the situation in the Persian Gulf zone against the background of the US military preparations being conducted here, two Arab countries offered their mediation services in defusing American-Iranian tensions. This is Iraq and Oman. However, the proposal of Iran’s two neighbors has not yet been followed by signs of a serious interest of Washington and Tehran in activating the “Arab component” of mediation. Moreover, Iran’s top political leadership continues to reject any possibility of entering into dialogue with the United States, indicating that “negotiations and war cannot go hand in hand .”