Raisi urges Japan to return the Iranian assets blocked in its banks

The Iranian president and Motegi also discussed the situation in Afghanistan following the Taliban's seizure of power and the withdrawal of international troops
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AFP PHOTO / HO / IRANIAN PRESIDENCY  -   Ebrahim Raisi (R) meeting with Japanese Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi in Tehran

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi on Sunday urged Japan to return Iranian assets blocked in Japanese banks due to US sanctions, while defending Iran's stance on the 2015 nuclear deal.

The delay in releasing Iranian assets in Japanese banks cannot be justified, Raisi stressed in a meeting in Tehran with Japanese Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi, who is touring the Middle East.

Sanctions imposed by the United States on Iran after it unilaterally withdrew from the 2015 nuclear deal between Tehran and six major powers (JCPOA) have left billions of Iranian dollars blocked in banks in other countries. In the case of Japan, these assets are estimated to amount to $3 billion.

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AFP PHOTO / HO / IRANIAN PRESIDENCY - Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi (R) meeting with Japanese Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi (3rd R) in Tehran

For its withdrawal from the agreement, the US must be accountable to world public opinion, according to the Iranian leader, who said he was in favour of negotiations to save the pact, although he did not advance any information that would point to its resumption.

Negotiations to get Washington to return to the JCPOA and Tehran to comply with all its commitments, which it began to violate in response to the sanctions, began last April in Vienna but were put on hold in June due to the change of government in Iran.

In this respect, Motegi affirmed that Tokyo has always supported the JCPOA and believes that the reactivation of the agreement is in everyone's interest, according to a statement issued by the Iranian presidency. 

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PHOTO/ EU Delegation in Vienna/Handout via REUTERS - Deputy Secretary General of the European External Action Service (EEAS) Enrique Mora and Iranian Foreign Ministry Deputy Abbas Araghchi

Raisi and Motegi also discussed the situation in Afghanistan following the Taliban's seizure of power and the withdrawal of international troops.

The Iranian president assured that his country has always supported peace and stability in Afghanistan and considers that it is the Afghans who must decide for themselves without foreign interference.

The presence of Americans in the region, including Afghanistan, has not only failed to bring security to the country but has posed threats, the ultra-conservative cleric denounced. 

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AFP/ ATTA KENARE - Reactor building at the Bushehr nuclear power plant in southern Iran, 1,200 km south of Tehran

Motegi also met in Tehran with his Iranian counterpart, Mohamad Javad Zarif, and his proposed replacement, Hosein Amir Abdolahian, as well as the secretary of the Supreme National Security Council, Ali Shamkhani.

Japan's visit to Iran is part of a tour of the region that has taken him to Iraq, Turkey, Egypt, Palestine, Israel and Jordan.