Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is planning to hold talks with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani later this month in New York following the reinstatement of sanctions against the Middle Eastern country by the United States, a Japanese government source said.
Japan hopes to maintain ties with Iran, on which it depends for crude oil imports. The leaders are planning to meet on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly later this month for the sixth year straight, it said, The Japan Times reported on Sunday.
US President Donald Trump pulled the United States out of the 2015 nuclear deal between Tehran and world powers in May.
Washington has been calling for a halt to oil imports from Iran by Nov. 4 and intends to impose sanctions on countries that continue to buy oil from the country.
Japan has been asking for a waiver during negotiations with the US but has faced difficulties securing an exemption.
Japanese oil distributors are set to halt oil imports from Iran in light of the US request, and Abe is meeting with Rouhani to discuss the situation, the source said. Iran is the sixth-largest exporter of crude oil to Japan and accounts for around 5 percent of its imports.
Abe and Rouhani are also likely to discuss economic cooperation during their meeting on the sidelines of the 73rd session of the UN General Assembly (UNGA 73), which will open on September 18.
Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono might visit Iran around mid-October if he retains his post in a potential Cabinet reshuffle Abe might hold in early October after his party’s presidential election, the source further said.