EghtesadOnline: Iranian lawmakers underlined the significance of improving economic relations with Japan as the most important aspect of President Hassan Rouhani's possible visit to Tokyo this month.
Asadollah Abbasi, the head of Iran-Japan Parliamentary Friendship Group, said expanding ties with developed countries such as Japan is of high importance under the current circumstances when all the enemies of Iran aim to disrupt the country's diplomacy with the world.
"Since our economic relations with Japan were excellent in the past, but have been reduced to nearly zero due to America's unilateral and cruel sanctions, it seems that the president's trip to Tokyo is aimed at raising the level of such ties," he told ICANA.
A traditional arch-foe of Iran, Washington has pulled out of the 2015 nuclear agreement and reinstated severe sanctions that have disrupted Tehran's international trade. It has also threatened other countries with penalties in case of doing business with Iran, Financial Tribune reported.
Mohammad Ebrahim Rezaei, a member of Majlis National Security and Foreign Policy Commission, also stressed the need to improve mutual trade with Japan, saying it would be the most important achievement of Rouhani's visit to the Asian powerhouse.
"Today, the Japanese are in serious need of Iranian oil because the equipment in their refineries are compatible with our oil and will be damaged by US sanctions and pressure," he said, adding that mutual economic relations will serve both countries' interests.
Efforts to Defuse Tensions
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has said recently that Tokyo is in discussions about a trip by Rouhani to Japan this month, in an attempt to resolve Iran's nuclear impasse with the US.
Abe did not give details but local media reported the visit could take place around Dec. 20. If realized, it would be the first visit by an Iranian president since Mohammad Khatami in October 2000.
Washington is exerting maximum pressure on Iran to push for renegotiation over a new deal, while Tehran refuses to engage in any talk as long as sanctions remain in place.
Japan maintains friendly ties with both the United States and Iran, and has tried to ease tension between the countries.
Abe even visited Iran in June and met with Rouhani and Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei, marking the first visit by a Japanese premier to Iran since the 1979 Islamic Revolution.