(From Reuters)

Japan and Iran will start negotiations on an investment accord once sanctions are lifted following last month’s landmark international deal on Tehran’s nuclear program, the Nikkei reported on Wednesday, citing Japanese government sources.

Initial talks are being held between the two countries to prepare for the lifting of sanctions and begin formal negotiations, the business daily said, without identifying the sources.

Japan is keen to boost ties with Iran and invest in resource projects in the country, as well as return imports of Iranian oil to about 10 percent of the total from 5 percent now after sanctions forced Japanese refiners to cut purchases, it said.

Yamagiwa meets with Iran Foreign Minister Javad Zarif
Yamagiwa meets with Iran Foreign Minister Javad Zarif

Earlier this month, Daishiro Yamagiwa, vice-minister of Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI), visited Tehran and met top government officials, accompanied by executives from the oil, gas and other industries.

Yamagiwa did not discuss an investment agreement, Shigetoshi Ikeyama, a director in METI’s Middle East and Africa division, said when contacted by Reuters about the Nikkei report.

“Knowing that Japanese companies are interested in boosting economic ties in future, state minister Yamagiwa had general discussions on streamlining the environment for that, but did not discuss an investment pact in particular,” Ikeyama said, adding that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs would take the lead on any discussions on specific agreements.

“Another reason for Yamagiwa’s visit was to avoid being beaten by European and U.S. companies,” Ikeyama said. Read more

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