Abe ‘deeply worried’ by Middle East tensions
Tokyo, Japan - Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who has tried to carve out a role mediating between Washington and Tehran, said on Monday he was ‘deeply worried’ by tensions in the Middle East.
“Middle Eastern tensions are increasing. I’m deeply worried about the current situation,” Abe said. “A further escalation in this situation should be avoided and I call for diplomatic efforts by parties concerned.”
In June, as tensions rose over Trump’s decision to withdraw from a nuclear deal with Tehran, Abe visited Iran for talks with Supreme Leader
Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and President Hassan Rouhani.
But his visit coincided with a suspected attack on two oil tankers off the Iranian coast.
And Khamenei categorically ruled out talks with Trump despite Abe’s efforts to smooth a path. Abe later met Rouhani on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly, and welcomed the Iranian leader to Japan - the first visit by an Iranian head of state in two decades. Japan has walked a fine line in balancing its key alliance with Washington and its longstanding relations and interests with Iran.