Japan would like to maintain, and develop, its traditionally friendly ties with Iran, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif on Thursday.

Iran Press/Asia: At the start of a meeting in the Japanese capital, Abe also told Zarif that he was concerned about growing tension in the Middle East.

U.S. President Donald Trump has ratcheted up sanctions on Iran since the United States withdrew a year ago from a 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and global powers by which Tehran curbed uranium enrichment capacity in return for sanctions relief, Reuters reported.

Iranian foreign minister has headed to Japan at the official invitation of the country's foreign minister.

Mohammad Javad Zarif and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe expected to discuss bilateral ties as well as regional and international issues.

Earlier, the Iranian minister had visited Russia, Turkmenistan, and India in a bid to expand the level of cooperation in different fields of mutual interest.213

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