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Japan looks to swiftly lift Iran sanctions, send business delegation

JIJI

The government will swiftly lift Japan’s sanctions on Iran based on a new U.N. Security Council resolution, Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida said.

The Japanese government “welcomes” Iran’s compliance with a final deal with the United States and the European Union, among others, on its nuclear program, Kishida said in a statement released Sunday after a joint announcement by the EU and Iran that sanctions against the Middle Eastern nation will be lifted.

Tokyo will “swiftly implement measures based on the provisions of the U.N. Security Council Resolution 2231,” Kishida said. “Japan will further strengthen the historically friendly relationship with Iran. Japan will actively cooperate for the steady implementation of the final agreement (on the nuclear issue).”

To support the deal’s implementation, the government will send nuclear energy experts to Iran, officials said.

Tokyo also plans to work to ease heightened tensions between Iran and Saudi Arabia, a major power in the Middle East, by capitalizing on friendly relations with both countries, they said.

Japanese sanctions on Iran include a halt in investment in the energy field.

Japanese companies expect removing the punitive measures will boost economic relations with Iran, which is rich in oil, natural gas and other natural resources and has a market of 78 million people.

Kishida already visited Iran in October and effectively struck an investment deal stipulating protection of assets of Japanese firms investing in the country, foreseeing progress in Tehran’s implementation of the final agreement reached with the United States and five other major powers in July.

After scrapping the sanctions, probably this week, the government will conclude a formal investment pact with Iran, to help Japanese firms expand into not only oil but other market segments expected to attract economic reconstruction demand, such as the auto, high-speed rail and aircraft sectors, sources said.

The government was also to dispatch a team to Iran as early as Monday to explore business opportunities there, the sources said.