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June 7, 2019 1:26 pm

Ahead of Japan PM’s Trip to Iran, Israel’s Netanyahu Tells Abe Pressure on Tehran Regime Must Be Maintained

avatar by Barney Breen-Portnoy

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. Photo: Reuters / Issei Kato / File Photo.

Ahead of a planned trip to Iran next week, Japanese Prime Minister Shizo Abe spoke by telephone on Friday with his Israeli counterpart, Benjamin Netanyahu.

According to a statement published by Netanyahu’s office, the Israeli leader told Abe that “pressure on Iran must continue in order to block its aggression” in the Middle East.

The statement also noted that Abe and Netanyahu “expressed much satisfaction over the great improvement in bilateral relations and over the considerable increase in Japanese investments in Israel.”

The Japanese Foreign Ministry said that during their half-hour conversation the two prime ministers “exchanged views on international issues including the situation in the Middle East,” and both sought to “advance mutual cooperation aimed at stability and prosperity of the region.”

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Abe has visited Israel twice in the past four years, and Netanyahu traveled to Japan in 2014.

While in Tokyo last month, US President Donald Trump welcomed Abe’s effort to facilitate diplomacy with the Iranian regime, amid heightened tension between Washington and Tehran.

“I know that the prime minister and Japan have a very good relationship with Iran, so we’ll see what happens,” Trump said. “The prime minister has already spoken to me about that. And I do believe that Iran would like to talk. And if they’d like to talk, we’d like to talk also. We’ll see what happens.”

At a later joint press conference with Trump, Abe commented, “Peace and stability of Middle East is very important for Japan and the United States, and also for the international community as a whole.”

“In this context, in order to make contribution for the peace and stability of the region, we would like to discharge whatever we can do,” he added. “So whatever it is possible for Japan to do, we absolutely would like to do this going forward. Between Japan and the United States, there should be close collaboration so that this tension surrounding Iran should be mitigated and alleviated, and it shouldn’t culminate in armed conflict.”

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