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Japan, Iran foreign ministers agree on investment deal

Staff writer |
Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida and his Iranian counterpart Mohammad Javad Zarif on struck a broad agreement on a bilateral investment pact.

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The two foreign ministers said in a joint press statement that they agreed to set up a council for Japan-Iran cooperation to discuss a variety of issues ranging from economic cooperation to the environment and medical care.

Japan has been seeking a deal that will allow Japanese firms to tap into the commercial potential of the Iranian market, Japanese officials said.

With sanctions on Tehran expected to be lifted as early as next spring, the United States and European countries have been stepping up efforts to improve their trade relations with Iran, and Tokyo wants to keep in step with such moves.

Negotiations on concluding an investment pact between Japan and Iran began in early September. Later that month, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani met on the sidelines of U.N. meetings in New York and agreed to work toward an early conclusion to the negotiations.

Japan hopes an investment pact will ensure Japanese companies do not lag behind those of the United States and European nations in entering oil-rich Iran, the officials said.

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