Japan on Wednesday said it has “consistently” supported the Iran nuclear deal and hopes for the “early return to compliance … by relevant countries.”

“Japan has consistently supported the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA),” Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said in a 30-minute phone call with Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi.

A statement by the Japanese Foreign Ministry said the two “exchanged candid views on the JCPOA” and “agreed to continue close communication on this matter.”

The Iran nuclear deal – officially known as the JCPOA – was signed in 2015 by Iran, the US, China, Russia, France, the UK, Germany, and the EU.

Under the agreement, Tehran committed to limit its nuclear activity to civilian purposes and, in return, world powers agreed to drop economic sanctions against Iran.

The US, under former President Donald Trump, unilaterally withdrew from the agreement in 2018 and re-imposed sanctions, prompting Tehran to stop complying with the deal.

Currently, talks to revive the deal continue in Vienna, Austria’s capital.

Representatives from Russia, China, Germany, the UK, France, and Iran are part of the discussions, which are being led by the EU’s Enrique Mora.

Kishida and Raisi vowed to “further strengthen the historically friendly relationship” between Japan and Iran, who have “a long history of over 90 years of diplomatic relations,” read the statement.

“In addition, the two leaders exchanged views on the situation in the Middle East including Yemen,” it added.

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