TEHRAN: Japanese Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi is in Tehran for a string of top-level meetings on a range of issues including Iran’s 2015 nuclear deal with world powers and the developing situation in Afghanistan.
Motegi, who touched down in the Iranian capital late on Saturday as part of his tour of the Middle East, met with President Ebrahim Raisi, Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, security chief Ali Shamkhani, and parliamentary speaker Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf on Sunday.
The newly elected president told him Iran remained committed to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), as the nuclear deal is known, which the United States unilaterally abandoned in 2018, imposing sanctions. “The Americans must answer to the world’s public opinion why they did not implement their commitments under the JCPOA and exited this international accord,” Raisi said, while also stressing Iran is not against negotiations.
According to the president’s website, Motegi reiterated Tokyo’s support for the multilateral accord, saying “we believe restoring the JCPOA is beneficial to all and can help resolve issues through dialogue”.
Representatives from Iran, China, Russia, France, Germany, United Kingdom, the European Union, and the US are soon expected to return to Vienna to continue talks on restoring the deal that were paused after six rounds in July to allow for the new administration in Tehran to take form. But key disagreements, among other things, over how and which US sanctions need to be lifted and how Iran can again scale back its nuclear programme have cast doubt over whether the deal can be restored.
On Sunday, the Iranian president also told Motegi he welcomes efforts by Japan and neighbouring countries to help Afghanistan, which was recently seized by the Taliban in a matter of days after a withdrawal of US troops. Raisi reiterated his stance that Afghans must decide the direction for their own country, and said Americans have admitted by pulling out after 20 years in Afghanistan that their presence was a mistake.