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Rouhani’s Japan Trip: A New Opportunity or Another Futile Effort?

President Hassan Rouhani will visit Japan later this week, according to Iran's state media, marking the first trip to the country by an Iranian head of state in nearly 20 years.
President Hassan Rouhani will visit Japan later this week, according to Iran's state media, marking the first trip to the country by an Iranian head of state in nearly 20 years.

“Today, while conditions have been tougher for Iran, the Islamic Republic tried to take the first step [toward negotiating with the U.S.] as the initiator for reviving the mediating role of Japan,” Ogli wrote in the state-run newspaper “Arman” on December 15.

He also revealed his desperation about the regime’s conditions in parallel with his hope about the trip of the regime’s president Hassan Rouhani to Japan and its “privileges,” writing, “Today’s issue is what shall we expect from [the Japanese Prime Minister] Shinzō Abe? It is 100 percent wrong if we imagine that the Japanese Prime Minister is able to carry out extraordinary action.

The maximum action that Japan can perform these days is reducing tensions, easing the limits on Iran’s oil sales, and giving a $3-billion line of credit that was rejected last time. However, if Japan accepts this issue or is able to take a small step toward easing tensions, it would be a very positive development and we should try for the success of this mission.”

Notably, Keyhan newspaper, which is known to reflect the opinions of the supreme leader Ali Khamenei, published a piece and reasoned that the regime should not be hopeful about Abe’s action.

Keyhan also reminded the dire conditions of Iran’s economy which this day raises a new round of infighting about next year’s budget bill. “Abe’s actions will yield nothing, the government has lost effort and prudence,” this newspaper printed.

“Regrettably, over the past six years, the Rouhani Administration has sacrificed the country’s economy on the stage of foreign policy. This issue made people’s tablecloth smaller and decreased the value of national currency… Our experience has proven that we will obtain nothing from fixers like [the Japanese Prime Minister] Abe…

Officials of these states, including France, frankly announced that their purpose in the new round of negotiations is making the restrictions of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) against Iran permanent and also extending them to our missile abilities and the regional power of Iran.

In the meantime, the cancelation of anti-Iran sanctions and economic opening for the Iranian people have no place in negotiations and are purely hollow promises,” Keyhan newspaper added.

Khamenei, who leaks his opinions through Keyhan newspaper, also displayed his fear from the recent Iranian uprising. Keyhan printed an article titled, “The iron barrier of stupidity,” saying, “When the society’s security is played with, the country enters a horrible tunnel that has no guaranteed exit.”

This article mocks Rouhani’s advertisement about his trip to Japan and writes, “Negotiation with the enemy that did not lose any opportunity to harm our dignity and independence is the refrain of stupid people who always keep hope in this malicious foe.”