FOCUS: Abe's Diplomacy over U.S.-Iran Tensions to Be Tested


Tokyo, Dec. 21 (Jiji Press)--Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's role as a bridge between the United States and Iran is likely to come under scrutiny, after he held a meeting with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on Friday, which came at a time when Tehran is increasingly isolated in international society.

The meeting was designed for Abe to call on the Iranian side to refrain from provocation and move for dialogue with the United States so that the tensions between Washington and Tehran will be eased.

But with Iran threatening to take further action early next month over Washington's exit from the historic 2015 nuclear accord, which was signed between Iran and six world powers also including Britain and France, it remains to be seen whether Abe's mediation will pay off, analysts said.

"This year marks the 90th anniversary of Japan-Iran diplomatic relations," Abe told the visiting Iranian president at the start of Friday's meeting, held at the prime minister's office in Tokyo, implicitly asking Tehran not to take fresh action over the U.S. withdrawal from the nuclear pact while highlighting favorable Tokyo-Tehran ties.

The second Japan visit by an Iranian leader since the 1979 Iranian Revolution was hastily arranged at the request of Tehran. During his visit to Japan early this month, Iran's Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araghchi asked Japan to cooperate to realize a Rouhani visit to the East Asian nation within this year.

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