Jul 10, 2019
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani meet at the U.N. headquarters in New York in September 2017. | KYODO
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is considering holding talks with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani when he visits New York in September to attend a U.N. General Assembly session, government sources said Wednesday.
After meeting with Rouhani in Tehran on June 12, Abe told a joint news conference that he would hold another round of talks with the Iranian president at some point in the future.
Since returning to power in 2012, Abe has held discussions with Rouhani on the sidelines of General Assembly sessions every year.
The sources said the specific meeting schedule would be fixed after the July 21 House of Councilors election.
During his three-day visit to Iran through June 14, Abe also met with the country’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, but failed to broker a dialogue between Tehran and Washington. After the talks with Abe, Khamenei said on Twitter, “I don’t consider (U.S. President Donald) Trump as a person deserving to exchange messages with; I have no response for him & will not answer him.”
Abe still hopes to ease intensifying tensions between Iran and the United States by playing a mediator role. The Middle Eastern nation has now surpassed the uranium stockpile and enrichment limits set by the 2015 nuclear deal.
But with Tehran now threatening to take further steps to breach the deal, from which the United States withdrew last year, and Trump stepping up sanctions on Iran, the resumption of talks among parties involved in the nuclear deal, including the United States, can hardly be expected despite efforts by France and other parties, people familiar with the situation said.
At a news conference in Tokyo Wednesday, Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Kotaro Nogami said Japan is “deeply concerned” about the heightened tensions.
“We will continue diplomatic efforts, while cooperating with the United States and other countries involved,” he added.