NEW YORK – The leaders of Japan and Iran met on the sidelines of U.N. meetings in New York on Sunday, with Tokyo proposing increased investment as an impetus for Tehran to implement a nuclear deal with six major powers.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani also agreed to work together toward an early conclusion of recently commenced talks to sign a mutual investment pact, a Japanese official said.
Abe said it was important for Tehran to put into action the accord on the country’s nuclear programs reached in July with the U.N. Security Council permanent members, plus Germany, and to cooperate with the International Atomic Energy Agency.
The Japanese leader promised that his government would help more Japanese companies launch business in Iran and make contributions to Iranian economic expansion, according to Katsunobu Kato, deputy chief Cabinet secretary.
Rouhani asked Abe for help in increasing settlement with Japanese banks, which is restricted under international sanction measures against Iran’s nuclear programs, so Tehran can import more medicine and medical equipment from Japan.
Abe told Rouhani such assistance could be provided as long as Iran fully implemented the nuclear deal, allowing the lifting of economic sanctions by the United States and European countries, according to Kato.
Abe and Rouhani also agreed to enhance cultural and academic exchanges between Japan and Iran, Kato added.
In a separate meeting, Abe and the emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, agreed to closely cooperate in efforts to stabilize the situation in the Middle East, according to the Foreign Ministry in Tokyo.
Abe and Tamim exchanged views on sources of concern in the region such as Islamic State extremists operating in Syria and Iraq and the situation in Yemen, the ministry said in a news release.
On bilateral issues, Abe requested that Qatar ensure a stable supply of liquefied natural gas to Japan.
Abe told Tamim that he believes a bilateral tax pact approved by the Diet earlier this month will further promote economic activities between the two countries.
Tamim was quoted by the ministry as saying that Japan is an important trading partner for his country, and that he would like to help boost investment between the two countries and strengthen relations in various areas including security and defense.
Abe explained Japan’s new security laws, which expand the scope of operations of Japanese troops abroad. Tamim welcomed the enactment of the laws earlier this month, according to the ministry.