Iran’s Rouhani Welcomes Japan Opting Out of US Naval Fleet

Rouhani says he and Japanese officials talked about ways of skirting US sanctions

While earlier in his visit to Japan, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani indicated that he understands why Japan joined a US-led fleet to protect energy shipping in the Persian Gulf, it seems he was able to talk Japan out of it.

Japan is now saying they will “opt-out” of the mission, with Rouhani saying he welcomed that decision. Under the new plan, Japan will send one surveillance ship, but not to the Gulf, just into the vicinity.

Rouhani indicated that the real point of the visit was ways to “break” the US sanctions, saying Japan had a new proposal for circumventing the US, and Iran also offered them a proposal. They will continue talking on the matter.

Japan is a major trading partner for Iran historically, buying a lot of oil from them. The US has forbidden Japan from buying oil, and forbidden Iran from selling it, though Iran is still selling to other nations. Japan isn’t buying yet, but the talks suggest that the door may be open if Japan can find the right way around US limitations.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.