Meeting between Mr. Katsuya Okada, Japanese Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan, and Mr. Manouchehr Mottaki, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Islamic Republic of Iran

(photo) Japan-Iran Foreign Ministerial Meeting

September 22, 2009

During the visit to New York on the occasion of the 64th Session of the United Nations General Assembly, H.E. Mr. Katsuya Okada, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan, held an approximately 45-minute long Foreign Ministers' Meeting with H.E Mr. Manouchehr Mottaki, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Islamic Republic of Iran, on September 22. What follows is an overview of the Meeting.

1. Japan-Iran Relations

Minister Okada said that he was happy to be able to meet again with Minister Mottaki and stated that Japan placed great importance on its relations with Iran and hoped to maintain close contacts in the future.

In response, Minister Mottaki expressed his congratulations to Minister Okada on his appointment to the Minister for Foreign Affairs. He also showed his desire to continue high level dialogues, including those between heads of state and Foreign Ministers towards the further expansion and deepening of relations with the new Government of Japan.

2. The nuclear issue

Minister Okada said that he visited Iran three years ago (May 2006) and during that time held an exchange of opinions with Minister Mottaki regarding the Iranian nuclear issue,, however, it was very regrettable that the concerns of the international community regarding the nuclear issue has not removed yet. He continued that he recognized the Iran's right of peaceful use of nuclear energy but stated that it was essential to restore the confidence of the international community and that Iran should hold dialogues with the United States and the European countries aimed at removing the concerns of the international community regarding the Iranian nuclear activities.

In response, Minister Mottaki said that Iran opposed weapons of mass destruction for religious reasons and that it had no intention and need to develop nuclear weapons. He went on to state that Iran was continuing to cooperate with IAEA, but would not negotiate its own rights. Following this statement, there was a debate between both sides. Regarding the abolishment of nuclear weapons, Minister Mottaki referred to the speech of the President of the United States Barack Obama in Prague and expressed his hope for cooperation between Japan and Iran in this area.

3. Relations with the United States of America

Minister Okada repeatedly emphasized the necessity for Iran to seize the opportunities of engagement policy by President Obama toward Iran and to respond to the United States' appeals for having dialogues.

In response, Minister Mottaki explained that he was aware of the changes in words of President Obama, but that he hoped to see changes in deeds as well, and would continue to watch the situation in a careful manner.

4. The Afghanistan/Pakistan issue

Minister Mottaki said that Iran hoped to continue the cooperation between the two countries in reconstruction assistance of Afghanistan and the issue of Pakistan.

In response, Minister Okada said that Japan also placed importance on the Afghanistan/Pakistan issue, and that it hoped to cooperate with Iran, which played an important role in the region.

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