Describing Japan as an important Asian country, Mousavi said that Iran and Japan enjoy relations in numerous areas.
Expansion of relations between the two Asian countries is one of the main goals of the Iranian president’s visit to Japan, Mousavi said during his weekly press conference held in the northeastern city of Tabriz on Saturday.
Japanese Prime Minister Abe Shinzo said on Monday that arrangements are underway for the visit by Iranian President Hassan Rouhani aimed at helping deescalate tensions and promoting peace in the Middle East region.
“By steadfastly pursuing dialogue, we will continue to make every diplomatic effort possible to ease tensions and achieve stability in the region,” Abe said at a news conference.
“As one of those efforts, we are currently in talks about a visit by President Rouhani to Japan,” he said, confirming earlier reports that a trip by the Iranian president was on the agenda.
Abe did not give any specific date for Rouhani’s trip, though local media reported the visit could take place on December 20 or 21.
This would be the first visit by an Iranian president to Japan in almost two decades.
Diplomatic sources said Abe would likely use the opportunity to urge Iran to remain committed to the landmark 2015 nuclear deal, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), which was signed between Iran and major world powers, including the United States.
However, US President Donald Trump withdrew the US from the JCPOA in 2018 and imposed unilateral sanctions against Iran, mainly targeting its oil exports.
Following the US decision, tensions between Washington and Tehran have been rising.
In compliance with Articles 26 and 36 of the JCPOA, Iran has, since May, gone through four stages in scaling back parts of its commitments in retaliation for Washington’s withdrawal from the accord and Europe’s failure to protect Iran against the sanctions.
Regional tensions have also intensified after attacks earlier this year on oil tankers near the Strait of Hormuz and the Persian Gulf, and a Yemeni strike on Saudi oil facilities. The United States has blamed Iran for the incidents, which Iran strongly denies.
Back in June, Abe traveled to Iran on a first visit by a Japanese premier in more than 40 years, with a plan to help ease tensions between the Islamic Republic and the United States.
Abe said in his meeting with Iranian officials that Japan sought to play a maximum role in preventing tensions, stressing “this has been the focus of my trip to Iran.”