National / Politics

Japan may offer medical aid to Tehran when Abe meets Iranian president in New York

Kyodo

Japan is considering offering medical aid to Iran when Prime Minister Shinzo Abe meets with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly later this month, diplomatic sources said Sunday.

Abe is expected to offer assistance such as training for medical professionals during his meeting with Rouhani in New York, following requests for such support from Iranian representatives, the sources said.

Tokyo believes medical assistance for Iran would not breach U.S. sanctions against the Middle Eastern country given that humanitarian supplies are exempted from its sanctions list, they said.

After Abe and Rouhani agreed on Japanese assistance in the fields of medicine and disaster prevention, during talks last year in New York on the fringes of the U.N. meeting, Iranian officials made repeated requests for medical aid, including the supply of advanced equipment, the sources said.

The Japanese government will likely be cautious about providing such equipment as Washington is concerned that Iran could divert technology to military uses, the sources said.

Taking advantage of its friendly relations with both the United States and Iran, Japan also hopes to increase its diplomatic presence in peace building in the Middle East, they said.

The administration of U.S. President Donald Trump reinstated sanctions on Iran last year after withdrawing from the 2015 Iranian nuclear deal.

Tensions between Iran and the United States are running high, with Tehran having pushed its uranium enrichment beyond the level agreed in the nuclear deal. Tokyo has urged Tehran to adhere to its commitments under the nuclear deal.

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