Arrangements are underway for Iranian President Hassan Rouhani to visit Japan later this month for talks with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Japanese government sources said Thursday.

The Abe-Rouhani meeting is likely to take place on Dec. 21 or 22, according to the sources. Abe is slated to visit China from Dec. 23 to 25, while Rouhani is scheduled to attend an international conference in Malaysia on Dec. 20.

Tehran is expected to seek ways to ease its tensions with Washington through the meeting with Abe, who has a good relationship with U.S. President Donald Trump.

In May, Iran began a phased suspension of its commitments under its 2015 nuclear deal with major powers after the United States withdrew from it last year.

Iran is poised to take a fresh countermeasure as early as next month unless the United States lifts crippling economic sanctions.

Aiming to serve as a bridge between Washington and Tehran, Abe visited Iran in June this year and had talks with Rouhani in New York in September.

If the visit is realized, Rouhani would be the first Iranian president to come to Japan since Mohammad Khatami in October 2000.

Abe is considering a visit to Middle East countries including Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates in mid-January. During the planned trip, he is expected to explain a possible Self-Defense Forces dispatch to the region.

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