EghtesadOnline: The Japanese premier's upcoming visit to Tehran with the perceived aim of mediating between Iran and the United States is likely to help reduce the existing tensions although no significant breakthrough is expected, an expert on international affairs said.
Jalal Sadatian, a former diplomat, also said that intermediary countries do not seek to broker a deal between Tehran and Washington, but aim to alleviate the crisis whose repercussions will certainly be felt throughout the world.
"Iraq, Kuwait, Oman, Switzerland and Japan are not after bringing Iran and the US to the negotiating table with an outcome like that of the Obama period, but seek to reduce the tension in their relations, which has caused concerns for the global community in general and West Asia in particular," he said in a recent interview with the Iranian Diplomacy website.
Iran-US ties have frayed since US President Donald Trump last year pulled out of the 2015 nuclear deal that was signed under his predecessor Barack Obama and reimposed sanctions, Financial Tribune reported.
The friction has reached a critical level in recent months with both sides adopting a tougher stance, raising the risk of a military conflict in the Middle East.
Several countries and dignitaries have proposed to mediate between the two, including Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe who is due to visit Iran next week for talks on the issue.
Abe is expected to meet President Hassan Rouhani before seeing Leader of Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei from June 12 to 14.
His trip, which was planned following his recent meeting with Trump in Tokyo, is the first by a Japanese premier since the Islamic Revolution.
This indicates, according to Sadatian, that Abe has either been given a green light by Trump or has concluded himself that diplomatic efforts can help calm the situation.
A serious and steady mediation mission can help ease the tensions by bringing the interests [of Tehran and Washington] closer, the former diplomat said.
Washington has softened its stance lately, with Trump saying it welcomes negotiations and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo offering unconditional talks.
"Although this stance by the White House cannot be trusted, it could signal a positive atmosphere created by intermediaries that could at least ease the tensions," Sadatian said.
Iran’s Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi has also expressed hope that Abe's trip could lighten the tense atmosphere in the region.
"Japan would probably be able to make Americans understand the current situation," he said in a talk with NHK.
Mohammad Hossein Farhangi, a lawmaker, said in a talk with ICANA that Abe could possibly have a message to deliver from Washington.
"Given the American officials' recent climb-down, the Japanese prime minister could be carrying a new message from them because it is the Americans that need to act in good faith," he said.