Abe En Route To Iran In Bid To Ease Tensions

Abe en route to Iran in bid to ease tensions

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has left Tokyo for Tehran amid rising tensions caused by the rift between Iran and the United States.

Abe spoke to reporters at Haneda Airport before he left on Wednesday morning.

He noted the concerns over growing Middle-East tensions.

He said he wants to do his utmost toward peace and stability in the region, as the world watches.

The prime minister said he hopes to have candid talks with the Iranian leaders, based on the long friendship between the two countries.

Abe will meet with President Hassan Rouhani later on Wednesday and with Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on Thursday.

He will be the first Japanese prime minister to travel to Iran since Takeo Fukuda visited in 1978, shortly before the Islamic Revolution.