Visit to the Islamic Republic of Iran by H.E. Mr. Hirofumi Nakasone, Minister for Foreign Affairs (May 2nd - 3rd)

(photo) Japan-Iran Foreign Ministerial Meeting (photo) Joint Press Conference (photo) Courtesy Call to President Ahmadinejad

May 3, 2009

During his visit to the Islamic Republic of Iran, H.E. Mr. Hirofumi Nakasone, Minister of Foreign Affairs, paid an approximately 50-minute courtesy call to President Ahmadinejad on May 2 and gave him a letter from Prime Minister Aso. Minister Nakasone also had a discussion with His Excellency Mr. Manouchehr Mottaki, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Islamic Republic of Iran, which lasted approximately 110 minutes excluding dinner. What follows is an overview of these meetings and the joint press conference he held with Minister Mottaki. (Minister Nakasone's visit to Iran is the first since Minister Kawaguchi visited in January 2004.)

1. Bilateral relations

(1) Minister Nakasone said that he was happy to be able to visit Iran upon the 80th anniversary of opening up diplomatic relations between Japan and Iran, and that he hoped to be able to carry out even higher level exchanges in the future. He also said that he places great importance on relations with Iran, a regional power, and that the two countries enjoy a friendly bilateral relationship. On the other hand, international restrictions exist, and it is necessary to improve the international environment to develop even more ties between the two countries. He also said that he hoped to cooperate in the field of energy conservation.

(2) President Ahmadinejad wishes to strive to expand and strengthen Japan-Iran relations, and said there is nothing hindering them from doing so. Minister Mottaki believes that it is necessary to strengthen high-level cooperation, including communication between Diet members to solve issues between the two countries. He also expressed hope that Japan and Iran, in addition to the fields of energy conservation, work together, in the field of oil, energy, and so on.

2. Regional and international affairs

(1) Iran-U.S. Relations

A) President Ahmadinejad said that he wanted to believe that the United States is attempting to change its policies towards Iran, but Iran is waiting to see changes in the United States's actions.

B) Minister Nakasone shared Japan's viewpoint that the United States is sincerely hoping to hold dialogues with Iran. He also encouraged Iran to take this opportunity to take definite actions.

C) Minister Mottaki expressed his gratitude for Japan's earnest consideration of how to improve relations between Iran and the United States.

(2) The Roxana Saberi issue

A) Minister Nakasone mentioned that Ms. Saberi's mother is Japanese, and that this issue deserves close attention from a humanitarian viewpoint as well. Although he respects the judicial system in Iran, he expressed his hopes for a transparent legal process and measures that are both impartial and tolerant

B) President Ahmadinejad said that the Judiciary is currently re-examining the case, and that the situation is not an ideal one because many opinions have come from outside Iran, making things more complicated. Minister Mottaki mentioned that President Ahmadinejad has also given an order for the Judiciary to re-examine this case.

(3) The issue of nuclear development in Iran

A) Minister Nakasone said that it is essential for Iran to act in accordance with the United Nations Security Council Resolutions and regain the international community's trust. To this end, he recommended that Iran show prompt, proactive responses towards negotiations with the EU 3+3.

B) In response, President Ahmadinejad made his opposition to nuclear weapons clear. He said that Iran is cooperating with IAEA, but that the United Nations Security Council Resolutions are out of date. Minister Mottaki explained that Iran is currently working on a new, comprehensive proposal, and that he hoped to discuss them once it is complete.

(4) The North Korea issue

A) Minister Nakasone stated that North Korea's missile launches, and their nuclear development, is a threat not only to the security of Japan but to peace and stability in the entire region. He expressed his concern in regards to the existing viewpoint that Iran and North Korea have a cooperative relationship regarding missiles and nuclear development.

B) Minister Mottaki stated that there is no cooperation taking places between Iran and Korea in the fields of missiles and nuclear development. President Ahmadinejad said that efforts should be made towards resolution of the North Korean issue through dialogues, and that Iran also wants to cooperate to that end.

(5) Iran's responsible conduct in the region

A) Minister Nakasone hopes that Iran, which is a regional power, will fulfill its appropriate obligations while building cooperative relations with its neighboring countries for the sake of peace and stability in the region.

B) The Afghanistan / Pakistan issues
At the press conference held following the discussion between the foreign ministers, while pointing out the important role Iran fulfills regarding Afghanistan, Minister Nakasone and Minister Mottaki announced that Japan and Iran will cooperate in regards to supporting Afghanistan in various fields including anti-drug trafficking / border control, assistance for refugees / vocational training.

C) Minister Mottaki hopes that Japan and Iran can work together to assist not only Afghanistan but Pakistan as well.

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