Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said Monday his country is arranging a visit by Iranian President Hassan Rouhani because it wants to play a greater role in resolving a nuclear impasse between Tehran and Washington. Japan, a US ally that has traditionally had friendly relations with Iran, seeks to serve as a mediator between the US and Iran, a role that is also expected by the international community, Abe said.
Abe, who has developed friendly ties with Trump, travelled to Iran in June in an unsuccessful effort to encourage Iran and the US to hold talks to reduce tensions.
Japan will do its utmost to relive tension in the region and stabilize the situation through persistent efforts to hold a dialogue, Abe said.
Iran’s economy has primarily been battered since the country has been locked in a standoff with the United States and its Gulf Arab allies after US President Donald Trump withdrew from a 2015 deal that gave it relief from sanctions in return for curbs on its nuclear programme.
The United States has imposed sanctions on Iran’s sovereign wealth fund, whose board of trustees includes President Hassan Rouhani, as well as Etemad Tejarate Pars, a company that the Treasury Department said had sent money internationally on behalf of Iran’s defence ministry.
In an attempt to resist crippling US trade embargoes, Iran’s president said on Sunday his country will depend less on oil revenue next year. The US re-imposed sanctions that block Iran from selling its crude oil abroad. “The budget sends a message to the world that despite the sanctions, we will manage the country,” President Hassan Rouhani told the opening session of Parliament.
The proposed budget will counter “maximum pressure and sanctions” by the US, he said. Rouhani added that Iran will also benefit from a USD 5 billion loan from Russia that’s being finalized.
He said the US and Israel will remain “hopeless” despite their goal of weakening Iran through sanctions.