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Abe, Rouhani agree U.S., Iran should avoid clash

Kaname Yoneyama / The Yomiuri Shimbun

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe attends a joint press conference with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani following their summit meeting in Tehran on Wednesday.

By Tomomi Asano and Shota Mizuno / Yomiuri Shimbun Staff WritersTEHRAN — Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani confirmed Wednesday that the Middle East country and the United States should avoid a military clash and strive to ease growing tensions over Tehran’s nuclear agreement with world powers.

Abe, who was visiting Iran, attended a summit meeting with the president at the Saadabad Palace for 2 hours 20 minutes, twice as long as initially scheduled. The two leaders had a few attendants on each side at first and were later joined by more officials.

According to the Foreign Ministry, Abe told Rouhani that no one wants a military clash. “I decided to visit Iran as part of my efforts to ease tensions,” he said, calling for Tehran to play a “constructive role” to stabilize the region and calm the situation.

In response, Rouhani said he welcomes Japan’s efforts. “Iran also does not want war” with the United States, he said.

Abe urged Iran to continue to abide by the 2015 nuclear agreement, and Rouhani said his country will remain committed to the deal. “We won’t abandon it, nor will we pursue nuclear weapons,” he said.

When it comes to bilateral relations between Japan and Iran, Abe expressed his willingness to “maintain and develop our traditionally friendly ties.” He said Japan will extend $2.5 million (about ¥275 million) in grant aid to UNICEF and the World Health Organization to help Iran deal with a flood that killed about 70 people this spring. The two leaders also discussed antiterrorism measures.

At a joint press conference following the summit meeting, Rouhani did not hesitate to express his country’s distrust of the United States.

“Iran won’t wage a war on our own, but if the United States does so, we will fight it out,” he said. “The regional tensions are rooted in the economic war made by the United States against the Iranian people.

“When the war ends, I believe we can find a bright future for our region as well as the world,” he added, insisting that the tensions would ease when Washington lifts the sanctions.

During their summit meeting, Abe expressed Japan’s interest in resuming the purchase of Iranian crude oil in the future, to which Rouhani expressed his gratitude during the press conference.

At the press conference, Abe expressed his commitment to serve as a bridge between Iran and the United States and other world powers. “Japan will do its utmost to ease the tension,” Abe said. “I’m sure we can have our next summit meeting not too long from now.” Speech

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