TOKYO (REUTERS) - Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is due to visit Iran next week in an apparent mediation mission to ease tension between Iran and the United States. The following are some of the reasons for Mr Abe's June 12-14 trip, and what it might accomplish. WHY IS ABE GOING TO IRAN? Japan is in a unique position as a US ally because it has long maintained close ties with Iran, making Mr Abe an ideal mediator. US-Iran ties have frayed since President Donald Trump pulled out of an Iran nuclear deal in which it agreed to curb its nuclear programme in return for the lifting of sanctions. The United States has also hinted at military confrontation, sending extra forces to the region to counter what it describes as Iranian threats. During a visit to Japan last month, Mr Trump welcomed Mr Abe's help in dealing with Iran, highlighting the "very good relationship" between Tokyo and Teheran. "I do believe that Iran would like to talk," Mr Trump said at the time. "And if they'd like to … [Read more...] about Why is Japan’s Abe going to Iran? What can he accomplish?
LONDON: Iran will not surrender to US pressure and will not abandon its goals even if it is bombed, President Hassan Rouhani said on Thursday (May 23), stepping up the war of words between the Islamic Republic and the United States.Earlier in the day, Iran's top military chief said the standoff between Tehran and Washington was a "clash of wills", warning that any enemy "adventurism" would meet a crushing response, the semi-official Fars news agency reported.Tensions are festering between the two countries after Washington sent more military forces to the Middle East in a show of force against what US officials say are Iranian threats to its troops and interests in the region.After pulling out of Iran's 2015 nuclear deal with world powers, US President Donald Trump restored US sanctions on Iran last year and tightened them this month, ordering all countries to halt imports of Iranian oil or face sanctions of their own.“More than one year after the imposition … [Read more...] about Iran says it will not surrender even if it is bombed
JEDDAH, Saudi Arabia: Major crude producers are set to meet Sunday (May 19) to discuss how to stabilise a volatile oil market amid rising US-Iran tensions in the Gulf, which threaten to disrupt supply.Key OPEC members and other major suppliers including Russia will assess the oil market and examine compliance to production cuts agreed late last year.But the subject of Iran, which is not present, will dominate the one-day meeting of the OPEC+ group.It comes days after sabotage attacks against tankers in highly sensitive Gulf waters and the bombing of a Saudi pipeline by Iran-aligned Yemen rebels.The meeting also comes as the full impact of re-instated US sanctions against Tehran kicks in, slashing the Islamic republic's crude exports.Hours before the meeting in Jeddah, host Saudi Arabia said it does not seek war with Iran, but is ready to defend its interests.The meeting is set to make recommendations ahead of a key OPEC summit in late June, to be attended by Iran.President … [Read more...] about Oil producers meet to discuss output amid Iran tension
DUBAI: U.S.-allied Bahrain warned its citizens on Saturday against travel to Iraq and Iran and asked those already there to return "immediately" for their safety, state news agency BNA said.The Bahrain foreign ministry cited, "unstable regional circumstances, dangerous developments and potential threats," according to BNA.The warning comes amid simmering tensions between the United States and Iran.Washington on Wednesday pulled non-emergency staff members from its embassy in the Iraqi capital Baghdad out of apparent concern about perceived threats from neighbouring Iran, to which Iraqi Shi'ite militias are allied. Earlier on Saturday Exxon evacuated its foreign staff from an Iraqi oilfield. … [Read more...] about Bahrain asks its citizens to leave Iran, Iraq ‘immediately’
PARIS: A surge of tensions in the Gulf has shown the risk of a military confrontation between arch-foes Iran and the United States, even if any conflict would likely be marked by guerrilla warfare rather than full-scale battles, analysts say.A series of mysterious attacks on ships off the coast of the United Arab Emirates, the key ally of Tehran's Gulf rival Saudi Arabia, prompted President Donald Trump to warn Iran would "suffer greatly" if it harmed US interests.The United States and Iran have had no diplomatic relations since the seizure by Iranian radicals of American embassy staff in the wake of the 1979 Islamic revolution.The two sides have at times been close to conflict - in particular during a tense period under former US president George W Bush - but analysts see a series of factors as making the current moment particularly combustible.Trump dismayed European allies by pulling out of the 2015 deal on Iran's nuclear programme unilaterally and is now ratcheting up the … [Read more...] about Could Gulf tensions lead to Iran-US war?