Visit by Minister for Foreign Affairs Yoriko Kawaguchi to the Islamic Republic of Iran
(Overview and Evaluation)

May 9, 2002

1. Overview

Minister for Foreign Affairs Yoriko Kawaguchi visited the Islamic Republic of Iran from 3 May to 5 May. In addition to holding ministerial talks with her counterpart, Minister of Foreign Affairs Dr. Seyyed Kamal Kharrazi, Foreign Minister Kawaguchi paid courtesy calls on President Seyyed Mohammad Khatami, the Speaker of Majles Mehdi Karroubi, and Chairman of the Expediency Council Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani. Foreign Minister Kawaguchi also held talks with Vice President and Head of Department of the Environment Masoumeh Ebtekar and Secretary of the Supreme National Security Council Hassan Rouhani.

2. Overview of Main Meetings

(1) Ministerial Meeting with Foreign Minister Kharrazi

  1. Foreign Minister Kawaguchi praised the reform efforts in Iran and announced her expectation that ties between Japan and Iran could be further vitalized in the future. Foreign Minister Kharrazi also expressed the hope that further cooperative relations could be created between the two countries. Both Foreign Ministers agreed on the holding of a director-general-level meeting on cultural exchange during the course of 2002, in order to actualize such activities as cultural exchange, intellectual dialogue and exchange among women.
  2. Foreign Minister Kawaguchi appreciated Iran for playing its important role in the peace and reconstruction in Afghanistan and requested further contribution. Foreign Minister Kharrazi stated that he expected Japan to cooperate in areas such as narcotics, refugees, education and medical care.
  3. Foreign Minister Kawaguchi requested that Iran play a constructive role in the Middle East peace process. Concerning the issue about the development of weapons of mass destruction, Foreign Minister Kawaguchi stated that it was important to contribute to the stability of the international community through respecting such international conventions as the Comprehensive Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT). In addition she stated that a rapprochement between Iran and the United States of America would contribute to regional stability. Foreign Minister Kharrazi stated that it was important to support the restoration of the rights of the Palestinians and a peaceful life for them. He noted that by considering the current situation in the Middle East, it was currently the case that even if Iran has the intention to advance the measures, including the disarmament of weapons of mass destruction, this would not be possible. In addition, he stated that Iran would seek to build relations with any country, based on mutual understanding and equal footing.

(2) Courtesy Call on President Seyyed Mohammad Khatami

  1. Foreign Minister Kawaguchi welcomed the development in bilateral relations between Japan and Iran, through vigorous exchange among dignitaries, and expressed her expectation that exchange among women would be similarly activated. She praised highly Iran for its contribution to the peace and reconstruction in Afghanistan and requested Iran's cooperation in areas such as narcotics and education. In addition, Foreign Minister Kawaguchi expressed the hope that cultural and intellectual exchanges would be promoted on the bilateral level.
  2. President Khatami stated his expectation on the activation of the exchange among women in the future. He added that Iran was currently in a most sensitive and important time, with also various frictions and issues to face, but that Iran was on the way to resolve these difficulties, and it was important that Iran had chosen to live with democratic principles, reflecting the will of the people. President Khatami stated that diplomatic policy in Iran is based on mutual respect, trust-building and detente. Concerning relations with the United States, President Khatami stated that Iran would not bend to threats, nor would it swallow insult and remarked that he hoped the United States would not adopt an overbearing posture. He stated that for Iran the peace and stability of Afghanistan were very important and that Iran was making efforts to cooperate with the Interim Authority of Afghanistan towards peace and stability of that country and that it was important to promptly implement reconstruction assistance.
  3. President Khatami extended once again an invitation for Prime Minister Koizumi to pay a visit to Iran.

(3) Courtesy Call on Speaker of Majles Mehdi Karroubi

  1. Foreign Minister Kawaguchi extended an invitation to the First Deputy speaker of Majles Seyyed Mohammad-Reza Khatami to visit Japan. She praised Iran for its contribution to peace in Afghanistan and mentioned the possibility of cooperation with Iran in reconstruction assistance. In addition Foreign Minister Kawaguchi stated that she expected Iran also to play a constructive role in issues other than Afghanistan.
  2. Speaker Karroubi extended once again an invitation for Chairman of the House of Representatives Tamisuke Watanuki to visit Iran. He expressed his expectation that exchange among parliamentarians, cultural and intellectual exchange and a dialogue among civilizations would be vitalized. He expressed the hope for bilateral dialogue on various levels in relation to regional and international issues.

(4) Courtesy Call on Head of the Expediency Council Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani

  1. Foreign Minister Kawaguchi stated her praise and support for reform efforts in Iran. She also praised Iran's contribution to the situation in Afghanistan and mentioned that Japan is prepared to make a contribution to the reintegration into society of former combatants. She stated that Japan was seeking to cooperate with Iran in various areas, including narcotics. In addition, Foreign Minister Kawaguchi stated her expectation that Iran, would exert great influence on stability in Afghanistan, and would play a constructive role in global issues.
  2. Mr. Rafsanjani stated that he expected a new law to be swiftly enacted to protect foreign investments in Iran and that he accordingly expected an increase in foreign investment, including from Japan. In addition, he welcomed the efforts by the Government of Japan to reintegrate into society retired soldiers, which he himself advocated before.

(5) Meeting with Vice President and Head of Department of the Environment Masoumeh Ebtekar

Foreign Minister Kawaguchi stated that she was delighted to be able to meet her old friend Vice President Ebtekar and explained Japan's measures that were being undertaken in response to environmental issues. Vice President Ebtekar stated that she expected Japan's cooperation in combating the issues of air pollution in large cities.

(6) Meeting with Secretary of the Supreme National Security Council Hassan Rouhani

  1. Foreign Minister Kawaguchi welcomed the deepening of mutual understanding through a frank exchange of opinions and exchange of VIPs. She praised Iran's cooperation in peace and reconstruction in Afghanistan and stated her desire to cooperate with Iran. Foreign Minister Kawaguchi announced her expectation that Iran would play a constructive role. In addition, she stated her expectation that in the Middle East peace process, moves would be swiftly made to bring the process back on track. She pointed out that the suicide bombing incidents of terrorism on innocent Israeli citizens was a serious issue, and that she expect that Iran take further positive measure to respond regarding these kind of issues.
  2. Secretary Rouhani praised the promotion of bilateral cooperation between Japan and Iran and stated his expectation that bilateral cooperation would be expanded in regional issues such as Central Asia and the reconstruction of Afghanistan. He stated his hope that Japan would cooperate with Iran in the reconstruction of Afghanistan. In addition, concerning the Middle East peace process, Secretary Rouhani stated that the killing of innocent Palestinians violated humanitarian principles and the right existed to fight against such an occupation.

3. Evaluation

(1) During this visit consultations took place with various senior Iranian officials concerning the specific measures for cultural exchange, intellectual dialogue, and exchange among women, and agreement was reached on further enhancing the structure for bilateral cooperative relations.

(2) A frank exchange of opinions was had with the Iranian side concerning various regional and international issues, and this will form a base for future consultations.


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