Aug 23, 2021 05:40 UTC
  • Parliament speaker urges Japan to take serious steps to unfreeze Iran assets in country's banks

Iran’s parliament speaker says Japan should take serious steps to unfreeze Iran’s assets blocked in its banks, especially under the present circumstances that Iran is grappling with the deadly coronavirus pandemic.

According to Press TV, Mohammad Baqer Qalibaf made the remarks in a Sunday meeting with the visiting Japanese Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi in Tehran, during which the two sides discussed areas of mutual interest as well as regional and global developments.

Iran’s top parliamentarian thanked the Japanese side for donating coronavirus vaccines to Tehran, saying that humanitarian cooperation between Tehran and Tokyo has been a hallmark of the 90-year-old relations between the two sides.

Qalibaf, however, criticized Japan’s measure to freeze Iranian assets in the country under US pressure, saying, “We expect the government of Japan to act seriously to unfreeze Iran’s assets, especially in order to ease the fight against the coronavirus pandemic.”

In a meeting with the Japanese foreign minister earlier in the day, President Seyyed Ebrahim Raeisi sharply criticized Japan for refusing to release the frozen assets.

Elsewhere in his remarks, Qalibaf pointed to Washington’s unilateral move to pull out of the 2015 nuclear deal, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), saying, “By leaving the JCPOA, this country stepped on all forms of multilateral and international interactions and caused illegal sanctions to be imposed on our nation and government.”

As a party to the JCPOA, Iran has complied with all its commitments, he said, adding, “Americans must live up to their commitments. The US acts of obstruction have made it impossible [for Iran] to even purchase medicine during the coronavirus pandemic, and we expect Japan, as a peace-loving country, to show serious reaction to this issue.”

Iran has been fighting back against one of the deadliest COVID-19 outbreaks in the world, with the harsh US sanctions significantly hampering efforts to contain the spread of the virus.

The sanctions were imposed by the administration of former President Donald Trump under a “maximum pressure” campaign and have been maintained by the current administration of Joe Biden, which has refused to soften the bans.

Iranian officials have occasionally described the sanctions as “economic terrorism” and “medical terrorism” over their deadly impact on ordinary people.

The Japanese foreign minister, for his part, said his country precisely monitors regional developments and the Vienna talks aimed at reviving the JCPOA, adding that that resolution of very complicated issues require more negotiations.

Tokyo emphasizes all the JCPOA signatories’ commitment to the deal, Motegi said.

He also stressed the importance of improving trade and economic cooperation between Tehran and Tokyo.