Iran assures Japan of de-escalation efforts in MidEast: report

MNA – Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif told his Japanese counterpart Toshimitsu Motegi on Monday that Tehran will seek to avoid war amid heightened tensions in the Middle East, while expressing appreciation for Tokyo’s diplomatic outreach.

Meeting Zarif for the first time since becoming foreign minister earlier this month, Motegi voiced serious concern about the situation in the region following recent attacks on oil facilities in Saudi Arabia, according to the Japan Times.

“We are very much concerned about the grave situation,” Motegi told Zarif at the outset of the meeting on the fringes of the UN General Assembly in New York. Japan will continue to work toward stabilizing the region, he added.

The Motegi-Zarif meeting came a day before Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe plans to hold talks with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly.

Japan is seeking to promote dialogue between the United States and Iran as stability in the Middle East is vital for the resource-scarce country, the report added.

Prior to his visit to New York, Rouhani said he would unveil a peace plan for the Persian Gulf on the occasion of the annual UN gathering.

Zarif explained details of the Iranian plan to Motegi during the meeting, according to a Japanese government official.

Despite being a longtime US security ally, Japan has taken a cautious stance about joining the US-led initiative due to its traditionally friendly ties with Iran.

Motegi asked Zarif “strongly” during their meeting to refrain from taking action that would undermine the 2015 nuclear accord, according to Japan’s Foreign Ministry.

The Iranian Foreign Minister, who has been in New York to attend the 74th session of the United Nations General Assembly since Friday evening, has so far met with the foreign ministers of Oman, Denmark, France and the President of the International Red Cross.

Zarif also held interviews with several US and international media despite harsh restrictions imposed by Donald Trump’s government while in New York.