Aug 20, 2023
Japan, Iran leaders to meet in Sept in New York - Kyodo
TOKYO, Aug 20 (Reuters) - Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi will meet in New York in September to discuss Iran's nuclear programme among other issues, Kyodo news agency said on Sunday, quoting unnamed Iranian diplomatic sources.
Iran aims to promote relations with Japan, traditionally a friendly nation, to avoid international isolation as Iran's talks with the United States and Europe over their nuclear deal have stalled, Kyodo said.
No comment was immediately available from Japan's foreign ministry.
Kishida and Raisi also met last September when they visited New York for the U.N. General Assembly.
Indirect talks between Washington and Tehran to revive the nuclear agreement have been stalled since last September, although the two are trying to ease tensions. U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said last week that he would welcome any Iranian steps to de-escalate its "growing nuclear threat".
Kishida and Raisi are also expected to discuss Iran's alleged provision of armed drones to Russia, which has invaded Ukraine, according to the Kyodo report.
Raisi will ask Kishida to visit Iran and seek to unfreeze Iranian assets in Japan, estimated to be worth around $3 billion, that were frozen in line with U.S. sanctions, Kyodo said.
Earlier this month, sources told Reuters that Iran may free five detained U.S. citizens as part of a deal to unfreeze $6 billion in Iranian funds in South Korea.
The Japanese side is also expected to emphasise safety in the Strait of Hormuz, the main artery for crude oil transportation and the route for most of the crude oil coming to Japan, Kyodo said.
Reporting by Yuka Obayashi; Editing by Edmund Klamann