Hatoyama speaks against nuclear weapons during Iran visit

Visiting former Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama met Saturday with Iranian Foreign Minister Ali-Akbar Salehi in the Iranian capital, telling him no nation should possess nuclear weapons.

“No country should possess weapons of mass destruction, especially nuclear weapons,” Hatoyama, who arrived in Tehran the same day, said during the meeting with Salehi, after referring to the 1945 U.S. atomic bombings of the southwestern Japan cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki during World War II, local media said.

Salehi said talks with six countries — the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany — will provide a chance for Iran to build a trusting relationship with Europe and the United States.

A state-managed broadcaster reported later that representatives of the six countries will meet in Istanbul on Friday and Saturday to discuss the Iranian nuclear program.

The talks will be their first on the Iranian nuclear issue in around 15 months and the first since the United States and Europe tightened sanctions on Iranian crude oil exports.

Salehi also said Iran’s nuclear program is for peaceful purposes and the country will never abandon its right to the program.

Hatoyama, who is visiting the country in a personal capacity to make efforts toward a peaceful resolution of the standoff over Tehran’s nuclear program, will meet Sunday morning with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad before leaving the country in the evening.

Hatoyama visited Iran despite the Japanese government’s concerns that it could result in “dual diplomacy.”

He was the Democratic Party of Japan’s first prime minister after the party came to power in September 2009. He stepped down in June 2010, partly due to his inept handling of the security relationship with the United States.