Iran paper warns Japan ahead of FM visit
TEHRAN, Aug 10 (AFP) - Iran confirmed Tuesday that Japan's foreign minister
would visit Tehran next week as a conservative newspaper warned Tokyo
not to use the visit as an occasion to start a row over Iran 's missile
The foreign ministry told the official IRNA news agency that Masahiko
Komura would be heading a 20-person delegation on his trip, the first
here by a Japanese foreign minister in eight years.
The visit comes amid reports from Tokyo that Japan could resume low-interest
infrastructure loans to Iran which were frozen in 1995 in line with US
accusations that Tehran sponsors international terrorism.
Japan's Mainichi Shimbun paper on Monday quoted a ministry official
saying talks were underway to resume loans to complete a dam on the Karun
river in southwestern Iran .
But the Tehran Times lashed out at press reports that Komura could also
use the visit to express Tokyo's uneasiness over Iran 's missile program,
which Western powers claim is partly based on North Korean technology.
Iran says its ballistic missiles, one of which was test-fired here last
year, are only for defensive purposes and are entirely the product of
"Komura should understand that Iran 's nuclear facilities are open
to international inspectors, who visit Iran time and again. They have
certified what Iran has claimed," the conservative English-language
"We would like Japan to realise its own economic might ... rather
than echoing what the United States dictates," it said. "Komura
should come here for economic and political cooperation to serve mankind,
not just the United States," it said.
Japan, South Korea and the United States have been embroiled in a heated
war of words with North Korea in recent weeks over Pyongyang's plans to
go ahead with the test launch of a new long-range ballistic missile.
Meanwhile Washington has claimed that Iran 's missile program is a threat
to the security and stability of the Middle East.
Japan is one of Iran 's largest trading partners and exports some one
billion dollars worth of goods to Tehran annually.
Tokyo also buys about 10 percent of its oil from Iran and in total imports
more than three billion dollars of goods from Tehran each year.