Iranian President Hassan Rouhani slammed the “irrational” withdrawal of the United States from the multinational nuclear deal on Tehran’s nuclear programme. This came after Rouhani met Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in Tokyo. "I strongly condemn the US for unilaterally and irrationally withdrawing" from the deal, said Rouhani, who became the first Iranian head of state to visit Japan for two decades.
"I hope Japan and other countries will make efforts to maintain this deal," Rouhani said.
Iranian government spokesman Ali Rabiei has played down the mediation aspect of the trip, saying the visit to Tokyo had "nothing to do with issues such as negotiations with America".
Last week, Abe said he would strive "as much as possible to ease tensions" in the Middle East, noting Japan's alliance with Washington and "favourable relations" with Tehran.
On Saturday, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe 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.