MNA – The Japanese government hopes to mediate between the United States and Iran in an effort to rescue a landmark 2015 international nuclear deal, also known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), officials have said.
“We note that Iran denies it is withdrawing from the nuclear deal,” Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Yasutoshi Nishimura told a news conference Thursday after Tehran announced the suspension of some of its commitments under the JCPOA, Japan Times reported.
“We intend to contribute to regional peace and stability, utilizing our traditional friendly relations with Iran,” Nishimura added.
The remarks came as Iran revealed on Wednesday countermeasures to US’ withdrawal from the nuclear deal, giving the other remaining parties to the JCPOA a 60-day ultimatum to comply with their commitments, particularly those regarding Iran’s economic interests in the banking and energy sectors, before reducing further commitments to the agreement stage by stage.
Iran says at any given time that its demands are met, it will resume complying with the suspended commitments, which have been made impossible to continue due to the US measures and sanctions.
The decision to reduce commitments to the JCPOA follows Washington’s move to ramp up pressure against Iran, by re-imposing new sanctions, including restrictions on Iran’s low-level uranium enrichment, and ending the sanctions waivers for Iran’s major oil clients in an attempt to drive the country’s oil exports to zero.
Tokyo has consistently supported the 2015 nuclear deal that terminated international sanctions on Iran.
When the US government decided in May last year to withdraw from the accord, Japan acted in concert with European countries and said that it would be extremely regrettable if the decision had a significant impact on the maintenance of the deal.
On Wednesday, US President Donald Trump issued an executive order imposing fresh sanctions to prohibit trade in metals, mainly steel, with Iran. Some Japanese officials say Tokyo should urge Washington to exercise restraint.
Amid heightened tensions between the two countries, Tokyo is seeking ways to facilitate talks between Iran and the United States.
“Both sides are seeking dialogue,” a Foreign Ministry source said. “There’s a limit, but there’s also a role Japan can play.”