1. On March 13, Mr. Taro Aso, Minister for Foreign Affairs, held talks with Mr. Mohammad Shariatmadari, a member of Strategic Council for Foreign Policies of Iran, now visiting Japan on the Opinion Leaders Invitation Program, for about 35 minutes from 16:10 at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
2. At the talks, Mr. Aso commented on Iran's nuclear issue, saying that Iran would gain nothing from isolation although Iran took the position that it could not accept suspension of uranium enrichment activities as a precondition. He also stated that now is a good opportunity for Iran to embark negotiations and that the Iranian side should make concessions in order to resume talks.
3. In response, Mr. Shariatmadari expressed his expectations for further strengthening the bilateral relations and Japan's role in solving the regional problems. On the nuclear issue, he stated that Iran was ready to solve the issue through negotiations. At the same time, however, he expressed that further pressure on Iran regarding the nuclear issue would only arouse extreme reactions inside the country, and that the adoption of the new UNSC resolution would not help solving the issue at all.