Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is considering visiting Iran as early as mid-June, NHK national television said on Friday.
The news comes during a tense standoff between Iran and the United States and follows a visit to Japan last week by Iran’s foreign minister, Javad Zarif.
Abe is likely to discuss the possible Iran visit with US President Donald Trump when the US president visits Japan from Saturday and a final decision may rest on the results of that, NHK said. No Japanese prime minister has visited Iran since 1978.
Zarif in Iran
During his visit to Japan, Zarif said that Iran was committed to its obligations under an international nuclear deal despite the US withdrawal from the landmark agreement. He called the re-imposition of US sanctions “unacceptable”.
Trump withdrew the United States from the agreement last year and is ratcheting up sanctions on Iran, aiming to strangle its economy by ending its international sales of crude oil. Japan was a major buyer of Iranian oil for decades before the sanctions.
The Trump administration is also warning of possible Iranian plots against the United States and its allies.