Politics › Japan urges Iran to be flexible on nuclear dispute - ( J44P44NN )

Tuesday, September 24, 2013


Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida on Monday urged Iran to be “flexible” to allow for concrete progress on the issue of Tehran’s contested nuclear drive.

Kishida met new Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif at United Nations headquarters in New York, a Japanese official said. Japan historically has had cordial relations with Iran.

In a diplomatic breakthrough, the foreign ministers of arch rivals, the United States and Iran, will hold their first talks on Tehran’s contested nuclear drive at a landmark meeting on Thursday.

Secretary of State John Kerry and Zarif will join counterparts from Britain, China, France, Germany and Russia at the meeting at U.N. headquarters, officials said.

The U.S.-educated Zarif, whose knowledge of Western culture has endeared him to foreign diplomats, confirmed Thursday’s meeting on his Facebook page.

Zarif said he spoke to EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton of Iran’s “political will as well as a conceptual framework to reach a solution that would ensure the Iranian people’s rights and would lift the sanctions.”

“It is evident from her post-meeting interview that she took it positively,” Zarif commented on the social media site.

The United States, which has spearheaded an international drive to cut Iran’s oil exports, has insisted it will not lift sanctions without progress.

Earlier this month,, the U.S. extended a waiver on Iran sanctions for six months to Japan in exchange for its reduction in oil imports from the Islamic republic. Japan has cut its imports of Iranian oil by 38.1% from a year earlier.

© 2013 AFP