Abe Expresses Concern Over Gulf Situation

Abe expresses concern over Gulf situation

Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has met the visiting top Iranian diplomat and expressed concern over growing tensions in the Persian Gulf.

Abe met Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif on Thursday. They reaffirmed that their countries will maintain friendly relations.

Zarif flew into Tokyo on Wednesday night. His hastily arranged visit comes after the United States sent an aircraft carrier strike group and B-52 bombers to the Gulf in an apparent step to keep Iran in check.

Iran said in response that it was scaling back compliance with the 2015 nuclear deal it signed with major world powers. The US pulled out of the deal in 2018.

At the start of the talks, Abe expressed concern about mounting tension in the Middle East. He asked for a frank exchange of views on the region's stability.

Abe also told Zarif that he wants to maintain and develop the two countries' traditionally friendly ties.

Zarif agreed that Iran and Japan are very important partners.

He added that under current circumstances, it is all the more necessary to discuss a variety of issues with Abe.

Abe expressed hope that Iran will continue to comply with the nuclear agreement. Zarif responded that Iran's countermeasures do not go outside the deal's framework.