Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Saturday discussed events in Iran with US President Donald Trump in a phone call. The phone conversation, which Abe told reporters took place at Trump’s request, came on the same day that Iranian President Hassan Rouhani wrapped up his two-day visit to Japan. Japan is a key US ally that also maintains close diplomatic and economic ties with Iran, and Abe has tried to build bridges between the two rivals.
The Abe-Trump phone call lasted about 75 minutes.
Earlier, Abe had said, Japan will do its utmost to relive tension in the region and stabilize the situation through persistent efforts to hold a dialogue. “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 had said.
Abe travelled to Iran in June in an unsuccessful effort to encourage Iran and the US to hold talks to reduce tensions.
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 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.