Skip to main content

Iran's foreign minister in first Japan visit since 2019

The purpose of the rare visit by Hossein Amir-Abdollahian to a G7 member country was not announced
— Tokyo (AFP)

Iran's foreign minister visited Japan on Monday for the first time since 2019, in a rare trip to a G7 member country by the Islamic republic's top diplomat.

The purpose of the visit by Hossein Amir-Abdollahian to the current chair of the G7 was not announced, but reports said Japan would press Iran to stop supplying Russia with arms.

Kyiv's military said last month it had destroyed dozens of Iran-built attack drones targeted at Ukraine's Odesa region.

Amir-Abdollahian met Japanese Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi, with both hailing the opportunity to have face-to-face talks in Tokyo.

"I am grateful for having this opportunity of exchange of opinions" over bilateral, regional and international issues, the Iranian diplomat said.

Ahead of the meeting, Amir-Abdollahian told reporters in Tokyo "we don't pick a side in any war", denying Iran had provided Russia with arms, Jiji Press reported.

He added that Iran "has never provided drones to any country for use in Ukraine", according to the report.

Amir-Abdollahian will also make a courtesy visit to Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, private broadcaster TBS reported.

TBS, citing unnamed government sources, said Japan would raise the issue of arms exports to Russia.

The Japanese foreign ministry said in a statement that Hayashi had "requested Iran to take constructive measures, repeating Japan's position on Russia's invasion into Ukraine".

- Nuclear concerns -

Japan and Iran have traditionally kept friendly ties despite key Tokyo ally Washington's tense relations with Tehran.

Iran used to be a major oil exporter to resource-poor Japan, but volumes have dropped sharply in recent years due to US economic sanctions on the Middle Eastern country.

Amir-Abdollahian's visit to Japan is the first by a top Iranian diplomat since December 2019, and the first under President Ebrahim Raisi.

However, Hayashi and Amir-Abdollahian have held telephone talks in the past, most recently in April this year.

During the April talks, Hayashi expressed Japan's support for the 2015 nuclear accord between Iran and six major powers, and urged Tehran to cooperate with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the UN nuclear watchdog.

The 2015 accord -- to which Russia and China were also parties -- was aimed at scaling down Iran's nuclear activities in order to allay fears it was developing atomic weapons.

But the United States pulled out of the deal under former president Donald Trump and efforts to revive it under President Joe Biden have faltered, while Tehran has expanded its nuclear work.

The Japanese foreign ministry said in its statement that Tokyo had "serious concerns about Iran's nuclear-related activities" and called for Iran to take "constructive measures including complete and unconditional cooperation" with the IAEA.

Join hundreds of Middle East professionals with Al-Monitor PRO.

Business and policy professionals use PRO to monitor the regional economy and improve their reports, memos and presentations. Try it for free and cancel anytime.

Already a Member? Sign in


The Middle East's Best Newsletters

Join over 50,000 readers who access our journalists dedicated newsletters, covering the top political, security, business and tech issues across the region each week.
Delivered straight to your inbox.


What's included:
Our Expertise

Free newsletters available:

  • The Takeaway & Week in Review
  • Middle East Minute (AM)
  • Daily Briefing (PM)
  • Business & Tech Briefing
  • Security Briefing
  • Gulf Briefing
  • Israel Briefing
  • Palestine Briefing
  • Turkey Briefing
  • Iraq Briefing

Premium Membership

Join the Middle East's most notable experts for premium memos, trend reports, live video Q&A, and intimate in-person events, each detailing exclusive insights on business and geopolitical trends shaping the region.

$25.00 / month
billed annually

Become Member Start with 1-week free trial
What's included:
Our Expertise

Memos - premium analytical writing: actionable insights on markets and geopolitics.

Live Video Q&A - Hear from our top journalists and regional experts.

Special Events - Intimate in-person events with business & political VIPs.

Trend Reports - Deep dive analysis on market updates.

We also offer team plans. Please send an email to and we'll onboard your team.

Already a Member? Sign in