1. Overview (1) Itinerary
Dr. Seyyed Kamal Kharrazi, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Islamic Republic of Iran, visited Japan from February 8 to 10. On February 9, he paid courtesy calls on and held meetings with Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi; Minister for Foreign Affairs Nobutaka Machimura; Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry Shoichi Nakagawa; Special Assistant to the Prime Minister Yoriko Kawaguchi; and others.
(2) Purpose of this Visit and Overview
This visit was at the request of Foreign Minister Kharrazi and a frank exchange of views took place with Japanese government leaders concerning the bilateral relationship between Japan and Iran, international issues including the peace in the Middle East and the nuclear issue in Iran.
2. Remarks on the Main Points of the Meetings (1) Iranian Nuclear Issue
(a) Japanese side (i) It is vital for Iran to sincerely implement all the requirements of the relevant resolutions adopted by the Board of Governors of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), including the suspension of all uranium enrichment-related and reprocessing activities without exception, in order to resolve all concerns raised by the international community regarding the nuclear issue. (ii) Japan supports the position taken by the EU3 (United Kingdom, France and Germany), countries in negotiation with Iran, and expects that an agreement reflecting a long-term arrangement will be concluded between the two parties. (b) Foreign Minister Kharrazi (i) Negotiations with the EU3 are to prove to the international community that Iran is developing its nuclear technology for peaceful purposes. (ii) In the event that these negotiations fail, not only Iran but the international community as a whole will incur damage; thus, Iran intends to draw a conclusion while sharing ideas through dialogue and negotiation. (iii) Japan is not developing nuclear weapons, but is manufacturing nuclear fuels under the inspection of the IAEA. This is what Iran intends to do.
(2) Japan-Iran Relations
(a) While recognizing that Japan and Iran have been enjoying good bilateral relationship along with the contract on the Azadegan oil field for instance, Foreign Minister Kharrazi requested a further expansion in the investment from Japan. (b) Foreign Minister Kharrazi extended an invitation to Prime Minister Koizumi and Speaker of the House of Representatives Yohei Kono to visit Iran. (c) The Japanese side shared the recognition on the progress made in the two countries' bilateral relations and noted the need to develop the investment environment in Iran.
(3) International Situation
(a) The Japanese side explained its efforts towards peace in the Middle East, such as Foreign Minister Machimura's visit to Israel and Palestine, while Japan expected Iran to apply constructive influences on Hezbollah. In response, Foreign Minister Kharrazi underlined the importance of giving consideration to the rights of the Palestinians and on the need for Israel to withdraw from the occupied area of Lebanon. (b) The Japanese side emphasized the importance of Iran taking a constructive role in Iraq, while Foreign Minister Kharrazi expressed his wish for a democratic administration to be established in Iraq. He also indicated his support for the territorial integrity of Iraq. (c) The Japanese side pointed to the importance of United Nations (UN) reform, while Foreign Minister Kharrazi stated that Japan is making significant financial contributions and it is a country well capable of taking on an even more active role in the UN. In addition, Foreign Minister Kharrazi shared his intent to continue the discussion on UN reform as active debates are being conducted over this issue.
3. Evaluation (1) This visit by Foreign Minister Kharrazi is his sixth time as a foreign minister, following his last visit in November 2003. Along with the visit of Senior Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs Ichiro Aisawa to Iran last January as well as meeting with Foreign Minister Machimura in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt last November, these visits are of great significance in securing opportunities for continuing dialogue through the mutual visits of government leaders of Japan and Iran.
(2) Regarding the nuclear issue of Iran, Japan had a chance to exchange views frankly. The Japanese side again expressed its strong concern over the issues. It also called on Iran to work towards a conclusion to its negotiation with the EU3.
(3) The government leaders were able to actively exchange views over peace in the Middle East and the issue of Iraq.
(4) The two sides shared opinions regarding the importance of UN and Security Council reforms, and agreed to continue their discussions on this matter.