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 the Iranian side, the sources said, according to KYODO News Agency.
Tokyo believes medical assistance for Iran would not breach US 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 their talks last year in New York on the fringes of the UN meeting, Iranian officials made repeated requests for medical aid, including the supply of advanced equipment, 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 US President Donald Trump reinstated sanctions on Iran last year after withdrawing from the 2015 Iranian nuclear deal.
In June, Japan’s prime minister paid an official visit to Iran in an effort to mediate between Tehran and Washington.
Abe delivered a message from the US president to Iran’s Leader Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei.
Japan was one of the main buyers of Iranian oil until last month, when Washington ordered all countries to halt all Iranian oil imports or face sanctions of their own.
Tensions have been running high between the US and Iran since Washington’s decision in May last year to abandon the 2015 Iran nuclear deal and reimpose sanctions on Tehran as part of a “maximum pressure” campaign aimed at forcing it to renegotiate a new deal that addresses its ballistic missile program and regional influence as well.
Tensions between the two nations deteriorated after Iran shot down a US surveillance drone on June 20 following its violation of Iranian airspace.
Several oil tankers were also targeted near the Persian Gulf last month, with Washington and its ally Saudi Arabia quickly blaming Iran for the suspicious attacks.
Tehran has rejected the accusations of its involvement as baseless, saying the incidents in the Sea of Oman appear to be false flags meant to frame the Islamic Republic.
The United States has engaged in significant regional military buildup, including by sending an aircraft carrier, a bomber task force, an assault ship, and around 1,500 additional forces to the Middle East.
Japan’s Prime Minister Abe Shinzo (L) shakes hands with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani following a joint news conference in Tehran on June 12. |