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US Agrees To Japanese Mediation With Iran And Rouhani Trip

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, left, and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani shake hands after their joint press conference at the Saadabad Palace in Tehran, Iran, Wednesday, June 12, 2019. The Japanese leader is in Tehran on an mission to calm tensions between the U.S. and Ira

The United States has indicated its approval with Japan’s plan to host a visit by Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani to Tokyo, Kyodo news agency quoted “diplomatic sources” as saying.

Apparently, Rouhani is seeking Japanese mediation in breaking a deadlock with Washington over the 2015 nuclear deal also known as the JCPOA. According to the sources quoted, the Trump administration is looking forward to learning about talks between Rouhani and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

The report says Iranian and Japanese officials are making arrangements for Rouhani’s visit around December 20, which would be the first such visit in 19 years.

Iran faced a serious upheaval in November as fierce protests engulfed the country, sparked by economic pressures triggered by U.S. economic sanctions. The Trump administration in 2018 withdrew from the nuclear agreement and imposed crippling economic sanctions.

Japan has maintained good relations with Iran over the years and can be considered a suitable mediator between Tehran and Washington. At the same time, Abe is a close ally of Trump. Last June, he visited Tehran in a mediation mission, but all efforts failed during Rouhani’s visit to the UN General Assembly in New York in September, when he did not show up for a telephone meeting with Trump and French President Emmanuel Macron.

Sources told Kyodo that Abe is expected to urge Iran to abide by the JCPOA, as Iran has gradually reduced its commitments under the deal to show its dismay with sanctions and Europe’s failure to help break Iran’s economic isolation.