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Iran Welcomes Japan's Decision Not to Join US-Led Naval Mission in Gulf

Iran Welcomes Japan's Decision Not to Join US-Led Naval Mission in Gulf

Sunday, 22 December, 2019 - 07:15
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani meet in Tokyo, Japan, December 20, 2019. Charly Triballeau/Pool via REUTERS

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said on Saturday that Tehran welcomed Japan’s decision not to join a US-led naval mission in the Gulf.

Rouhani's statements were made during his visit to Japan's capital, Tokyo.

“Japan has announced it will not take part in the Americans’ plans for security in the (Gulf) region ... which is something we welcome,” Rouhani said on state TV after returning from a visit to Malaysia and Japan.

“Japan is sending a surveillance vessel but not to the Gulf and the Strait of Hormuz,” he said, Reuters reported.

Tension between Tehran and Washington has increased since last year when US President Donald Trump pulled his country out of Iran’s 2015 nuclear deal with six nations and re-imposed sanctions on the country, crippling its economy.

Washington proposed the naval mission after several attacks in May and June on international merchant vessels, including Saudi tankers, in Gulf waters which the US blamed on Iran.

Tehran denies the accusations.

In July, Iranian forces seized a British tanker in the Gulf after British marines captured an Iranian vessel in the Strait of Gibraltar. Both ships were later released.

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