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|16 May, 2019

PM Abe says Japan wants to develop ties with Iran

Abe also told Zarif that he was concerned about growing tension in the Middle East

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, left, and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, right, shake hands at Abe's official residence in Tokyo Thursday, May 16, 2019. Eugene Hoshiko/Pool via REUTERS

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, left, and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, right, shake hands at Abe's official residence in Tokyo Thursday, May 16, 2019. Eugene Hoshiko/Pool via REUTERS

TOKYO - Japan would like to maintain, and develop, its traditionally friendly ties with Iran, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif on Thursday.

At the start of a meeting in the Japanese capital, Abe also told Zarif that he was concerned about growing tension in the Middle East.

U.S. President Donald Trump has ratcheted up sanctions on Iran since the United States withdrew a year ago from a 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and global powers by which Tehran curbed uranium enrichment capacity in return for sanctions relief.

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(Reporting by Kiyoshi Takenaka; Editing by Chris Gallagher and Clarence Fernandez) ((chris.gallagher@thomsonreuters.com; https://twitter.com/ChrisGallagher4 ; 81-3-6441-1842; Reuters Messaging: chris.gallagher.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net))

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