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Defense chiefs of Iran, Japan discuss Persian Gulf peace in phone conversation

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
In this file photo taken on April 30, 2019, Iranian soldiers take part in ceremonies marking National Persian Gulf Day in the Strait of Hormuz.

The defense ministers of Iran and Japan have emphasized the need for peace and stability in the Persian Gulf and the Strait of Hormuz amid heightened tensions in the strategic region.

In a phone conversation with his Japanese counterpart, Taro Kono, on Tuesday, Iranian Defense Minister Brigadier General Amir Hatami highlighted the collective nature of security in the Persian Gulf region, adding that no country in the region can enjoy security while its neighbors are in turmoil and suffer from insecurity.

Hatami rejected as “baseless” the claims by the US and its allies that Iran played a role in the recent Yemeni raids on Saudi Arabia’s key oil installations and said there is no evidence to back up the accusations.

He said those who fabricate such allegations “either cannot or do not wish to recognize the Yemeni nation’s military capabilities.”

“Iran has always been seeking to establish peace and stability in the region in cooperation with other states,” he added.

The Iranian defense minister also warned against the dangers of terrorism and extremism in East and West Asia, calling for a global resolve to eliminate such threats.

Touching on bilateral Tehran-Tokyo ties, Hatami said the two sides enjoy good relations in the area of politics, economy and culture.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s visit to Tehran in June and his talks with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly session in New York last week are indicative of friendly relations between Iran and Japan, he said.

Hatami added that Iran is willing to promote its defense relations with Japan as well, expressing hope the phone conversation would help open a new chapter in ties between the two countries.

In turn, the Japanese defense chief praised Iran’s role in promoting regional peace.

He also invited his Iranian counterpart for a visit to Japan for more consolations.

The two sides also exchanged views on the Hormuz Peace Endeavor, an Iranian initiative for regional cooperation to ensure peace in the Strait of Hormuz, Japanese media reported.

Following the talks, Kono told reporters that he had expressed concerns over the rising tensions in the region during his talks with the Iranian defense minister.

“80 percent of Japan’s crude oil imports come through the Strait of Hormuz. The stability of the region is directly connected to Japan’s energy security,” Kono added.

According to the Japanese Defense Ministry, the phone talks on Tuesday were the first of their kind despite a long history of diplomatic relations between the two countries.

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