"What we're seeing right now is the stage is being set for negotiations", Tzvi Kahn, a senior Iran analyst at the Washington-based Foundation for Defense of Democracies, told VOA Persian in a Thursday interview.
A senior commander of Iran's elite revolutionary Guards repeated the country's official stance by saying that Tehran "is not seeking war" with the United States but warned that it will respond "decisively" to any aggression. "But there's always a chance" President Donald Trump said during a Wednesday interview on British TV station ITV when asked whether he thought military action would be necessary against Iran.
German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas will visit Iran as part of a three-country Middle East tour next week, during which he will explore options for preserving a fraying nuclear non-proliferation pact, a ministry spokeswoman said.
According to the outlines of the plan, Abe will meet with Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and President Hassan Rouhani. Iran has dismissed the accusations as groundless. "We can turn that around very quickly", he said.
He further said that such moves will steer the USA closer to the goal it pursued when leaving the Iran nuclear deal, which was nothing but the deal's collapse.
Iran and the United States have been drawn into starker confrontation in the past month, a year after Washington pulled out of a deal between Iran and global powers to curb Tehran's nuclear programme in return for lifting worldwide sanctions. "We need to open a new negotiation", he added.
On May 8 Iran announced that it is giving UK, France, Germany, China and Russian Federation, the other signatories of the nuclear deal 60 days to fully meet their commitments under the nuclear deal.
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Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said Abe's trip will be the first by a Japanese leader to Iran in 41 years.
Abe has expressed support for the Iran nuclear deal that curbed the country's nuclear program in exchange for relief from economic sanctions.
But in an unusual comment later in the speech, Khamenei also called Trump an "honorable US president", in reference to what he said was Trump's seemingly "generous" recent comments about Iran. Abe's trip also serves the purposes of Japan, which relies on oil from the Middle East and seeks US support for its pressing concerns in Asia, he added.
President Hassan Rouhani seemed more open to negotiations if the US showed Iran respect and lifted sanctions against it.
"I think they felt comfortable [with the Trump decision]", Heinonen said, per the report.
"(Then) reduce ballistic activity and contain Iran regionally and we have a fourth objective which is peace in the region.