Anti-Imperialism/Foreign Policy

US call to Japan indicates ‘divergence of interests’ with regard to Iran

Press TV. Listen here.

US President Donald Trump’s phone call to Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to discuss a recent trip by the Iranian president to the East Asian country reveals an escalating “divergence of interests” between Tokyo and Washington in their relationship with Tehran, an American analyst in Virginia says.

“What’s happening here is that the interests of the United States and Japan are diverging quite a bit in terms of their actual foreign policy goals in relationship to Iran,” Keith Preston, chief editor of, said in a phone interview with Press TV on Sunday.

“Japan is a country that is closely aligned with the United States but also has a much different set of interests when it comes to Iran,” he added. “The primary interest that Japan has when it comes to Iran is that it simply imports petroleum produced in Iran. It would be in the interest of Japan to simply normalize relationship with Iran because it would be beneficial to the Japanese economy.”

Japan’s Kyodo news agency, citing a government source, said on Saturday that Trump had requested the phone call a day after Abe met Iranian President Hassan Rouhani in Tokyo, the first meeting in Japan between leaders of the two countries since 2000 and a major development that could affect a current political stand-off between Iran and the United States.

Trump phones Japan’s Abe to discuss meeting with Iran president: Report

Trump phones Japan’s Abe to discuss meeting with Iran president: ReportJapan’s Kyodo says Trump has talked over phone to PM Abe to discuss his meeting with Iran

“The interaction between President Trump and the prime minister of Japan indicates the ways in which the divergence of interests of the two countries are becoming more manifest and this will probably continue to escalate in the future,” Preston said.

“We will see Japan as well as other countries becoming increasingly critical and skeptical of the position that the United States has taken regarding Iran even if it’s not in their interest,” he added.

Japan heavily relies on energy imports from the Middle East. It used to be a major buyer of Iranian oil before the American sanctions were imposed on Tehran more than a year ago.

Japan’s Abe has sought to help de-escalate tensions between Iran and the US, especially since May this year when several incidents in the Persian Gulf and the Sea of Oman sparked worries about a major military conflict that could impact the safety of energy transport throughout the region.

The premier visited Iran in June in a historic visit that many saw as an attempt to broker a dialogue between Iran and the US.

Iran has dismissed calls for direct talks with the US, saying such negotiations would only be possible if Washington removes all of its illegal sanctions and returns to a landmark nuclear deal signed between the country and world powers in 2015.

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