AFP: Japan, whose business ties with Iran have caused US concern, will send a senior diplomat to Tehran to urge the country to follow IAEA demands it suspend uranium enrichment, officials said Monday.
Deputy foreign minister Hitoshi Tanaka will hold a one-day meeting with Iranian foreign ministry officials Tuesday. AFP

TOKYO - Japan, whose business ties with Iran have caused US concern, will send a senior diplomat to Tehran to urge the country to follow IAEA demands it suspend uranium enrichment, officials said Monday.

Deputy foreign minister Hitoshi Tanaka will hold a one-day meeting with Iranian foreign ministry officials Tuesday.

"It is important for Iran to sincerely fulfil resolutions made by the IAEA committee, including suspension of reprocessing activities related to uranium enrichment," Chief Cabinet Secretary Hiroyuki Hosoda said.

"We will deliver this message at the upcoming vice ministerial level talks," Hosoda, the top government spokesman, told a news conference.

But he stopped short of saying whether Japan would support sending the nuclear row to the UN Security Council for potential sanctions.

Asked about bringing the issue to the Security Council, of which Japan is a member, Hosoda said: "The issue will be handled depending upon the response from Iran and discussions of each nation. So it is difficult for us to say at this stage."

Britain, France and Germany held two days of talks with Iran to persuade it to suspend uranium enrichment. The United States wants the International Atomic Energy Agency to refer Iran to the Security Council for allegedly trying to develop nuclear weapons under cover of its civilian atomic energy program.

The United States, a close ally of Tokyo, has expressed "deep concern" over Japan's agreement to jointly develop with Iran the two billion-dollar Azadegan oilfield to assure stable oil supplies.

A Japanese foreign ministry statement stressed Tuesday that the envoy's visit was part of regular talks between Tokyo and Tehran.

"Because of the importance of the Japan-Iran bilateral relations, our country attaches great importance to dialogue with Iran," it said.

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