Trump backs Japan’s efforts to bridge gaps with Iran

Donald Trump says Japan’s help is welcome in reaching out to Iran. 

By World Israel News Staff and AP

President Donald Trump on Monday backed the Japanese prime minister’s interest in using his country’s good relations with Iran to help broker a possible dialogue between the U.S. and its nemesis in the Middle East.

Trump, who has said he’s open to having a dialogue with Iran, has sought to downplay fears of military conflict, but the Iranians have said they have no interest in communicating with the White House.

Trump commented during a day that opened with the high pageantry of his meeting with Japan’s emperor but quickly gave way to deliberations over thorny global issues, including North Korea, trade tensions with his Japanese host and the escalating friction between the U.S. and Iran.

“I know that the prime minister and Japan have a very good relationship with Iran so we’ll see what happens,” he said while meeting with Abe in Tokyo.

“The prime minister’s already spoken to me about that and I do believe that Iran would like to talk. And if they’d like to talk, we’d like to talk also. We’ll see what happens … nobody wants to see terrible things happen, especially me.”

Trump has imposed tough new sanctions on Iran, which are crippling its economy. Late last week, he announced the deployment of 1,500 U.S. troops to the region amid the tensions. The U.S. earlier deployed an aircraft carrier and B-52 bombers to the Persian Gulf in response to intelligence of Iranian threats to U.S. interests in the region.

Tensions have been simmering in the Gulf region. Two weeks ago, Saudi Arabia reported two of its oil tankers were sabotaged off the coast of the United Arab Emirates. The U.S. says evidence points to Iran as the culprit.

Last Sunday, Trump sent an angry warning to Iran after a missile was launched in Baghdad’s Green Zone where the U.S. Embassy is located. He tweeted: “If Iran wants to fight, that will be the official end of Iran.”

Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif tweeted in response, “Economic terrorism & genocidal taunts won’t ‘end Iran.” 

Iran has started to move away from its obligations under the 2015 nuclear deal and has begun enriching uranium again.

Iran’s president has suggested the Islamic Republic could hold a referendum over the country’s nuclear program amid the unraveling deal with world powers and heightened tensions with the United States, Iranian media reported on Sunday, May 26.