Japan, Iran Agree To Keep Discussing Islamic State Issue

Japan, Iran agree to keep discussing Islamic State issueJapanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani agreed Tuesday the two countries will continue to discuss how to deal with issues related to Islamic State militants in the Middle East, a Japanese official said.

To that end, Abe and Rouhani agreed that the two governments will hold meetings periodically at various levels including between their foreign ministers as well as other diplomats, the official said.

Abe asked Rouhani to cooperate in providing humanitarian aid for people and countries affected by the militant group, according to Japanese Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Hiroshige Seko who attended the talks.

Rouhani was willing to work together with Japan on the matter and voiced concern that the region has become increasingly unstable, Seko said.

The Japanese and Iranian leaders did not discuss the launch by U.S.-led forces of airstrikes against Islamic State targets in Syria, Seko added.

Abe also urged Rouhani to "use flexibility" to complete negotiations with the United States and other countries over Iran's nuclear programs, according to Seko.

Abe offered to provide investment and assistance to Iran in sectors such as environmental conservation if the nuclear issue is settled.

Iran and the five U.N. Security Council permanent members plus Germany have been working on signing a comprehensive agreement on the nuclear program by a Nov. 24 deadline.

Abe and Rouhani held talks on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly. They last met a year ago on a similar occasion on the fringes of the U.N. event.

Abe also had separate meetings with Mongolian President Tsakhiagiin Elbegdorj and Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi later in the day.

Abe and Elbegdorj agreed to work together to settle the issue of North Korea's past abductions of Japanese nationals, while el-Sisi asked Abe for Japanese financial assistance and corporate investment, according to the Japanese official.