Japan PM Abe departs for Iran in bid to ease tensions in ME

TEHRAN, Jun. 12 (MNA) – Prime Minister Shinzo Abe left Wednesday for a two-day visit to Tehran, saying he wants to have candid talks with the Iranian leadership to secure stability in the Middle East.

Taking advantage of Tokyo's traditionally friendly ties with Tehran, Abe is set to hear opinions from Iranian leaders about the escalating standoff with the United States that has caused anxieties in the Middle East and beyond, Japan’s National Daily “The Mainichi” reported.

"There are concerns over rising tensions in the Middle East. While the situation attracts the attention of the international community, for peace and stability in the region, Japan wants to play a role as much as it can," Abe told reporters at Tokyo's Haneda airport before his departure.

"To ease tensions, I'd like to have a frank exchange of views," said Abe, the first sitting Japanese prime minister to visit Iran since Takeo Fukuda in 1978.

Abe's itinerary includes meetings with President Hassan Rouhani on Wednesday and Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei on Thursday. Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono will hold talks with his Iranian counterpart Mohammad Javad Zarif hours before the Abe-Rouhani summit.

MA/PR

News Code 146346

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