Trump said during his four-day visit to Japan that he welcomes the assistance of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in fostering a deal with Iran.
On a four-day visit to Japan, U.S. President Donald Trump and his wife Melania are meeting with new Japanese Emperor Naruhito and Empress Masako. Trump is the first foreign dignitary welcomed by the new monarch, who inherited the throne on May 1.
At a lavish state dinner with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and the leaders’ wives, Trump said: “It’s over 200 years since something like this has happened. So it’s a great honor to be representing the United States.”
Trump made every effort to publicly demonstrate a strong U.S.-Japanese alliance.
During a joint news conference in Tokyo, Abe declared that Japan would do what it can concerning Iran. “Peace and stability of the Middle East is very important for Japan and the United States and the international community as a whole,” he said.
Trump, pleased with this sentiment, said he “knows for a fact that the prime minister is very close with the leadership of Iran, and we’ll see what happens.
“I really believe that Iran would like to make a deal, and I think that’s very smart of them, and I think that’s a possibility to happen,” said Trump.
Trump also showed faith in Iran having a positive future when he said the Islamic Republic “has a chance to be a great country with the same leadership. We aren’t looking for regime change — I just want to make that clear. We are looking for no nuclear weapons.”
Japan’s public broadcasting company NHK reported that the new leader was considering a trip to Tehran as early as June. However, Iran has said that a visit in the near future was unlikely.
Last year, Trump withdrew the U.S. from the 2015 Obama-era international nuclear deal with Iran and placed sanctions on the country in an effort to damage its international crude oil sales and destroy its economy.
Tensions between the U.S. and Iran have continued to rise following this month’s attack on Saudi Arabian oil tankers in the Gulf region. Washington blamed Iran for the attacks, which Iran has denied.
During the conference, Trump suggested that he seeks to get Iran’s leaders back to the negotiating table and help the country reach its full potential, rather than enter a military conflict with the U.S.
“I’m not looking to hurt Iran at all,” Trump told reporters. “I’m looking to have Iran say, ‘no nuclear weapons.’”