04:23 GMT +314 November 2019
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    Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, left, and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, right, shake hands at Abe's official residence in Tokyo Thursday, May 16, 2019

    Japan Not Expecting Any Meetings With Iranian Leadership in Near Future - FM

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    MOSCOW (Sputnik) - Japan does not plan to hold any meetings with the Iranian leadership in the near future amid the heightened tensions between Washington and Tehran, according to a Japanese Foreign Ministry official.

    "At the moment, we are not expecting such meetings," the official said, when asked if Tokyo planned meetings with the Iranian leadership in the foreseeable future.

    The ministry official also refrained from "making predictions" on whether the issue of US-Iran standoff would be raised during US President Donald Trump's visit to Japan later this week, as previously reported by the Kyodo news agency.

    Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif visited Tokyo last week to meet with his Japanese counterpart, Taro Kono, and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. During the meeting with the Iranian top diplomat, Abe voiced hope for the continued implementation of the Iran nuclear deal, reaffirming that Japan would maintain and develop friendly relations with Tehran.    

    READ MORE: Iran's Army Commander-in-Chief Says US Strategy in Middle East is to Exploit Regional States

    Trump will pay a four-day visit to Japan on Saturday. The US leader is expected to meet with Abe, as well as Emperor Naruhito.

    The US-Iranian tensions first flared up last year when the United States unilaterally withdrew from the 2015 nuclear agreement with Iran and started reimposing sanctions on Tehran. Iran announced in early May of this year its decision to partially discontinue its obligations under the nuclear agreement.

    In addition, the United States has stepped up in recent weeks its military presence in the Middle East in what National Security Advisor John Bolton has called a clear and unmistakable message to the Iranian regime. The United States has recently deployed to the region an aircraft carrier strike group, Patriot missiles, B-52 bombers and F-15 fighters, according to the Pentagon. Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has said that Iran does not intend to wage war with the United States but will continue to resist Washington.


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