A senior Iranian diplomat says preparations are underway for a possible visit by President Hassan Rouhani to Japan, expressing hope that the trip will help strengthen economic ties.
Speaking with Japan's public broadcaster NHK in Vienna, Austria, on Saturday, Iran's Deputy Foreign Minister for Political Affairs Abbas Araqchi added that efforts are being made to fix a date for the visit, and expressed hope the schedule will be decided soon.
“Japan is one of the economic partners of Iran. Iran has been always one of the important oil suppliers … energy suppliers to Japan. And Japan has been one of the suppliers of technology and many other things to Iran,” Araqchi said.
He added that Iran wants to maintain positive relations with Japan, and hinted at a possible resumption of oil exports.
In May 2018, US President Donald Trump unilaterally pulled his country out of the international nuclear deal, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) signed between Iran and the 5+1 group in 2015, in defiance of global criticism, and later re-imposed the sanctions that had been lifted against Tehran as part of the agreement.
US leaders have said Washington’s ultimate aim is to get oil exports from Iran down to zero, but Iranian officials and many international analysts have dismissed it as a bluff.
Earlier this week, an Iranian government official said that President Rouhani is considering stopping by Japan during his trip to Malaysia for an international conference sometime in mid-December.
Mahmoud Vaezi, the Chief of Staff of the Iranian Pesident, told reporters on the sidelines of a cabinet session on Wednesday that President Rouhani will first visit Malaysia and will then depart for Japan.
He said the visit comes in response to an invitation by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe during the latter’s visit to Tehran in June, adding that the visit will most likely take place later this month.