Japanese leader visits Iran to help ease tensions
by Onize Ohikere
Posted 6/12/19, 11:58 am
Just hours before Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe arrived in the Iranian capital of Tehran on Wednesday, hoping to ease tensions between Iran and the United States, Iran-backed Yemeni rebels targeted a civilian airport in Saudi Arabia, injuring 26 people. Abe’s trip, the first time a sitting Japanese prime minister has visited Iran since the Islamic Revolution 40 years ago, is the latest effort to de-escalate rising tensions in the region after U.S. President Donald Trump withdrew from the 2015 Iranian nuclear deal last year and reimposed sanctions on Iran. The sanctions also affected Japan, which has stopped buying Iranian oil. “Japan wants to do as much as possible towards peace and stability in the region,” Abe said.
Underscoring the increasing conflict in the Middle East, the Saudi-led military coalition on Wednesday vowed to respond to the Houthi missile strike that hit the arrival hall at the Abha regional airport. The injured included three women and two children from Yemen, Saudi Arabia, and India. The missile successfully halted air traffic at the airport, some 100 miles from the Saudi-Yemen border, the rebels’ Al-Masirah satellite news channel confirmed. A Saudi-led coalition, with support from the United States, has fought Iran-backed rebels in Yemen since 2015 in a bid to restore power to the internationally recognized government.
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Onize is a reporter for WORLD Digital based in Abuja, Nigeria.