News Analysis: Abe's visit to Tehran may achieve "economic truce" between Iran, U.S.: experts

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"For sure, Iran will accept the truce provided that the U.S. halts economic war on Iran," he stressed.

During his two-day stay in Tehran, Abe will also meet with Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei who has strongly opposed any talk with the United States under the pressures.

TEHRAN, June 11 (Xinhua) -- The imminent visit of Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to Iranian capital Tehran may result in a halt in the U.S. economic pressures on Iran, Ebrahim Rahimpour, Iranian political expert, said.

by Hassan Rouhvand

Over the past decades, Iran has been one of the suppliers of crude oil to Japan. Before the U.S. sanctions against Iran in 2012, Iran provided up to 15 percent of Japan's oil demands.

Rahimpour spotlights on Japan's inclination for maintenance of energy imports from the regional states and, hence, its eagerness to involve in a diplomatic mission for region's stability.

"It is hard to say how successful Abe's mediation can be," Pastori said.

However, Rahimpour, also the former Iranian deputy foreign minister for Asia-Pacific affairs, said that due to Japan's "relations with both sides (Iran and the United States), it can play the role of an intermediary."


In the meantime, Gianluca Pastori, professor of Political and Social Sciences from Milan Catholic University, believes that Japan is dependent on the oil of the region, and in this perspective, the country is keen on encouraging the conflicting sides to avoid escalating disputes.

Tokyo and Tehran mark the 90th anniversary of their diplomatic relations in the current year, which provides an opportunity for the United States to reach out to Iran through Japan in the hope of dealing with the mutual prickly issues.

Under the U.S. pressures, major Iranian oil buyers, including Japan, have stopped trading with Iran, making Tehran locked up in a bitter economic and political controversy with the United States.


The U.S. administration has also mobilized military hardware, including bombers and warship, to the region under the pretext of alleged "Iranian threats."

In 2018, Saudi Arabia topped the crude exports to Japan by approximately 68 million kiloliters.

Japan's diplomatic move is interpreted as a measure to protect Tokyo's regional interests.

On Wednesday, Abe will make a rare visit to Tehran, seeking to ease tensions between Iran and the United States.

Following the U.S. President Donald Trump's withdrawal from the 2015 landmark nuclear deal in May last year, Washington reimposed energy and financial sanctions against Iran.

"It is evident that Tokyo faces loss as a result of conflicts" between Iran and the United States, Rahimpour stated.

"The meaning of inviting Rouhani to G20 summit, in case the news is true, is to hold talks with Trump," Rahimpour pointed out.

The figures display Japan's heavy reliance on the energy of the region and a motivation behind Abe's Tehran visit.

The United Arab Emirates ranked second by importing about 45 million kiloliters to Japan. Other regional countries, like Qatar, Kuwait, Iran, Bahrain, Oman and Iraq together added roughly 40 million kiloliters to Japan's crude imports.

Rahimpour said that Abe's visit to Tehran may have achievements, like the "economic truce."

"In other words, it is in their interest if there is no conflict in the region between Tehran and Washington," he added.

Trump presses Iran for renewed talks on the latter's nuclear program, the country's ballistic missile tests and its regional role, which Iran rejects.

Media reports also suggest that, in his Wednesday meeting with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, Abe is going to invite Rouhani to a G20 summit in Japan at the end of this month.