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Japan PM Tells Rouhani Iran Should 'Fully Implement Nuclear Agreement'

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani (L) and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (R) attend a meeting at the prime minister's office in Tokyo on December 20, 2019.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Friday asked visiting Iranian President Hassan Rouhani to honor the commitments made under the 2015 nuclear agreement known as JCPOA.

“I strongly hope the country will fully implement the nuclear agreement and play a constructive role for peace and stability in the region,” the Japanese Prime Minister was quoted by Reuters as saying during the 10th Japan-Iran Summit.

"The nuclear deal is an extremely important agreement for Iran. That's why we strongly condemn the United States' one-sided and irrational withdrawal," Japan’s Mainichi quoted Rouhani as saying in today’s meeting.

In the meeting held at the Prime Minister’s office Abe pointed out that the Iranian President’s visit marks the 90th anniversary of the start of diplomatic relations between the two countries.

Iran and Japan have maintained friendly relations over the years. Before the U.S. sanctions hit the Iranian crude oil exports Japan was one of the biggest buyers.

However, due to the tough U.S. stance against violations of its sanctions, Japan has withdrawn from the Iranian oil market. “No, we can’t do it when U.S. sanctions are in place,” an official quoted by Japan Times said to reporters, speaking on condition of anonymity. “As far as we know, no (Japanese) oil wholesalers have bought crude oil from Iran since May this year,” the official added.

The two leaders also conferred about Japan’s plans to dispatch its Self Defense Forces (SDF) to the Middle East. Japanese troops including an SDF destroyer and patrol plane will stay away from the Strait of Hurmuz where the U.S.-led maritime coalition protects merchant vessels. Japan did not join the U.S.-led coalition due to its close relations with Iran.

The U.S. accuses Iran of being involved in attacks on oil facilities and tankers in the Persian Gulf and the Sea of Oman, including a vessel operated by a Japanese firm near the Strait of Hormuz in June.

According to Mainichi at a press conference before Rouhani's arrival ​Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said that during the Japan-Iran summit Japan will spare no effort to explain the plan to deploy SDF in the Middle East".