Parliamentary Senior Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs Nobuo Kishi’s Visit to the Islamic Republic of Iran
June 17, 2014
Parliamentary Senior Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs Nobuo Kishi visited the Islamic Republic of Iran from June 9 to 11, and met with Dr. Javad Zarif, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Dr. Ali Larijani, Parliamentary Speaker, and Dr. Masoumeh Ebtekar, Vice-President and Head of Department of Environment. An overview of the meetings is as follows:
1. Meeting with Dr. Javad Zarif, Minister of Foreign Affairs (June 11; commencing at 11:30 a.m. for approximately one hour and 15 minutes)
(1) Japan-Iran Relations
(i) Parliamentary Senior Vice-Minister Kishi said he was glad to meet Foreign Minister Zarif for the second time since this March. He mentioned that high-level government exchanges between Japan and Iran have become more active since the launch of Iran’s Rouhani Administration. Delivering a letter from Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to President Hassan Rouhani, he also conveyed Prime Minister’s message that he wants to further strengthen Japan-Iran relations.
Furthermore, Parliamentary Senior Vice-Minister Kishi said he wants to cooperate effectively to promote exchanges in fields such as the economy and culture.
(ii) In response, Foreign Minister Zarif said that he was honored to be able to meet Prime Minister Abe and Minister for Foreign Affairs Fumio Kishida this March, and was glad that Parliamentary Senior Vice-Minister Kishi, the younger brother of Prime Minister Abe, visited Iran, along with saying that based on the relationship of trust between Prime Minister Abe and President Rouhani he wants to strive to further strengthen the bilateral relationship.
In regard to Japan-Iran economic relations, Foreign Minister Zarif said that he strongly hopes Japanese investment in Iran will grow quickly in order to maintain and strengthen the trust relationship that Japanese companies have earned in the Iranian market, along with stating that he hopes the Government of Japan will perform an active role in supporting the activities of Japanese companies and financial institutions.
(2) Iran’s nuclear issue
(i) Parliamentary Senior Vice-Minister Kishi said that negotiations toward a final agreement on the nuclear issue have reached a critical stage. He expressed respect for Foreign Minister Zarif’s sincere efforts toward the final agreement, and said he expects Iran will exert the utmost effort to reach an agreement in the negotiations. Additionally, he said that Japan is steadily implementing measures of the first step of the “Joint Plan of Action ”. Parliamentary Senior Vice-Minister Kishi requested Iran’s proactive engagement in the expeditious ratification and strict implementation of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Additional Protocol, as advocated by Foreign Minister Kishida in ministerial meetings. In addition, Parliamentary Senior Vice-Minister Kishi acknowledged that the bilateral relationship is not fully capitalizing on the potential for development at this moment, but said he is confident that economic relations between the two countries will develop dramatically once the nuclear issue is ultimately resolved.
(ii) In response, Foreign Minister Zarif expressed his gratitude for Japan’s contribution in implementing measures of the first step and gave a detailed explanation regarding the current state of and outlook for the negotiations. He also said that Iran is doing everything it can and staking its political prestige on reaching a final agreement.
(iii) Parliamentary Senior Vice-Minister Kishi replied that Japan is also prepared to perform a proactive role in implementing measures of the final stage.
(3) Additionally, before the end of the meeting Parliamentary Senior Vice-Minister Kishi presented Foreign Minister Zarif with a uniform of the Japanese national football team for 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil bearing Foreign Minister Zarif’s name, and both sides exchanged words of encouragement toward the success of the Japanese and Iranian teams at the tournament.
2. Meeting with Dr. Ali Larijani, Parliamentary Speaker, (June 9; commencing at 3:00 p.m. for approximately 30 minutes)
(1) At the beginning, Parliamentary Senior Vice-Minister Kishi congratulated Dr. Larijani on his reelection as Parliamentary Speaker in this May, and stated that strengthening Japan-Iran relations is a matter of interest to Prime Minister Abe, and that he intends to follow up high-level government exchanges held thus far and move bilateral relations forward. Additionally, Parliamentary Senior Vice-Minister Kishi said that for deepening the relationship of mutual trust, exchanges between the parliaments who represent the nations are important. Parliamentary Senior Vice-Minister Kishi said he hopes for further progress in parliamentary exchanges in the future, mentioning the fact that Mr. Masahiko Komura, Special Envoy of the Prime Minister (and Chairman of the Japan-Iran Parliamentarians Friendship League) visited Iran last September, and Foreign Minister Kishida also visited Iran last November and met with Parliamentary Speaker Larijani.
In response, Parliamentary Speaker Larijani said that he welcomed Parliamentary Senior Vice-Minister Kishi’s visit to Iran, along with stating that the Japan-Iran bilateral relationship has a long history and is important, and he hopes Parliamentary Senior Vice-Minister Kishi’s visit to Iran will serve as an opportunity for enhancing not only economic relations but also political relations of the two countries. He also said that further progress in parliamentary exchanges in the future is important and he expects various discussions will take place via the Japan-Iran Parliamentarians Friendship League.
(2) In addition, Parliamentary Senior Vice-Minister Kishi said he expects Iran will make the utmost effort to reach an agreement in the negotiations on Iran’s nuclear issue, and he requested the support of Parliamentary Speaker Larijani in resolving the issue.
Parliamentary Speaker Larijani replied that he believes it is possible to resolve the issue via the current political discussions with the EU 3+3, and said Iran is not seeking to obtain nuclear weapons, but hoping to be able to use nuclear power peacefully just as Japan does. He also said he hopes Japan will continue to perform a proactive role after the final agreement is reached.
3. Meeting with Dr. Masoumeh Ebtekar, Vice-President and Head of Department of Environment, (June 9; commencing at 4:30 p.m. for approximately 50 minutes)
(1) Parliamentary Senior Vice-Minister Kishi said he was glad to meet Vice-President Ebtekar for the second time since this April, and that amid the strengthening in Japan-Iran relations, which is also a matter of strong interest to Prime Minister Abe, environmental cooperation is one area of bilateral cooperation that has been affirmed in Japan-Iran Summit Meetings. He also stated that, based on the memorandum of cooperation in the field of environment signed when Vice-President Ebtekar visited Japan, he intends to steadily implement environmental cooperation. He also explained the Government of Japan’s support for preserving Orumieh Lake.
In response, Vice-President and Head of Department of Environment Ebtekar said she expects that Parliamentary Senior Vice-Minister Kishi’s visit will have a positive impact on bilateral relations. She also said the strong will of the two countries’ leaders is having an impact in various fields, including the environmental field, and this can be expected to lead to concrete outcomes. Additionally, she said Japan’s support for the preservation of Orumieh Lake is generating high praise for Japan from the people of Iran. The two sides also exchanged views on water, atmospheric pollution, global warming and other challenges.
(2) Vice-President and Head of Department of Environment Ebtekar said that, based on the conversation she had when paying a courtesy call on Prime Minister Abe during her recent trip to Japan, she wants to actively encourage women-to-women exchanges between Japan and Iran. In response, Parliamentary Senior Vice-Minister Kishi said it is encouraging that the roles women play in society have risen. He referred to a speech on women made by Prime Minister Abe at the United Nations General Assembly last year and said it is with great pleasure that women-to-women exchanges between Japan and Iran will become active.