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Iranians expect little from Japan’s mediation efforts

Japan's prime minister is in Tehran for what is widely seen as an attempt to calm escalating US-Iran tensions, but few people there expect miracles.
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif meets with Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono and officials in Tehran, Iran June 12, 2019. Hamed Malekpour /Tasnim News Agency/via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS PICTURE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY - RC17D940E9C0

Not a day has gone by during the past two weeks in Iran without speculation about the Japanese premier's visit to Tehran and the agenda of his talks with Iran's leadership. The speculation has been fueled by reports that US President Donald Trump, during his May 27 trip to Tokyo, had embraced Shinzo Abe's offer to help alleviate the tensions between Tehran and Washington that have reached alarming levels.

There has been no confirmation from Islamic Republic officials, who assert that the visit had been in the making long before Trump's presser in Tokyo. Also, before boarding his plane from the Japanese capital, Abe told reporters that his country sought to play a role in regional "peace and stability," making no direct reference to mediation plans. 

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