Japan may drop the US-led sanctions against Iran

TOKYO – Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani said on Saturday that Japan had thought of a way to topple economic sanctions against Tehran.

Rouhani made the statement after returning from his two-day trip to Japan where he sought support from the Japanese, traditional US allies who chose to mediate the tension between the two countries.

“The Japanese have proposed a new way of overturning US sanctions, we have also done one. We have discussed and agreed to continue consultations on the issue,” he said in a speech on Iranian television.

The Iranian president also said that Japan supports Iran regarding the peace plan for the Strait of Hormuz.

Meanwhile, the US is trying to build an international coalition to protect the straits and other waters in the Persian Gulf region, an effort dubbed Operation Sentinel. The US sees Iran as a threat in the region.

“Japan supports Iran’s peace plan in the Strait of Hormuz. Secondly, Japan openly stated that it would not participate in US plans to ensure security in the region,” said Rouhani, praising Tokyo’s position.

The United States has reinstated sanctions against Tehran after abandoning in 2018 the Joint Comprehensive Action Plan (JCPOA), the Iranian nuclear agreement. Washington has threatened to penalize any country that buys oil from Iran, including Japan.

The deal collapsed after US President Donald Trump dropped the deal last year and reinstated several batches of sanctions against Tehran.

Trump cited alleged violations of the deal by Iran as the reason for the withdrawal. Iran denied this accusation, while several IAEA reports confirmed that the Islamic Republic was sticking to the agreement. The US that left the JCPOA was also strongly criticized by the European Union (EU), China and Russia, all signatories of the agreement.

A year later, Iran began to increase its stock of enriched uranium and raised the level of enrichment beyond the limits set by the JCPOA. Officials in Tehran said this could be reversed quickly if the EU persuaded the US to return to the nuclear deal or find ways to ease the burden of Iran’s sanctions.

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