TEHRAN, Dec 21_Iranian President Hassan Rouhani says the Islamic Republic welcomes Japan's decision not to join a US-led naval mission purportedly aimed at protecting shipping lanes in the Strait of Hormuz and the Persian Gulf.
TEHRAN, Young Journalists Club(YJC)_Speaking to reporters in Tehran on Saturday upon his arrival from a five-day trip to Malaysia and Japan, Rouhani added that security of energy and shipping is an important issue for all big Asian and European countries whose energy requirements are tied to this region.
“Japan supports Iran’s initiative that is the HOPE peace initiative [aimed at establishing long-term peace in the Persian Gulf and the Strait of Hormuz] …. Japan has also announced that it will not take part in the Americans' plan for security in the region. We welcome both issues," he said.
"Japan wants to bring a surveillance vessel to the region but not to the Persian Gulf region and the Strait of Hormuz but to the Bab el-Mandeb Strait and the Sea of Oman," the Iranian president added.
He noted that Iran pursues an unwavering stance on regional security and believes that “regional security should be supplied by regional countries."
Friction between Iran and the United States has increased since last year when US President Donald Trump unilaterally withdrew from a landmark nuclear deal signed between Iran and six major powers in 2015 and unleashed the “toughest ever” sanctions against the Islamic Republic in defiance of global criticism in an attempt to strangle the Iranian oil trade.