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Japan expresses regret over US pullout from Iran nuclear deal

Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono (Mainichi)

TOKYO (Kyodo) -- The Japanese government on Wednesday expressed regret over the potential impact of the United States' decision to withdraw from an international deal on Iran's nuclear development.

"It would be regrettable if (the U.S. pullout) has a major impact to the extent of making it difficult to maintain the (Iran) nuclear agreement," Foreign Minister Taro Kono said in a statement.

"We hope that the countries involved will continue to deal with the issue in a constructive manner," the minister said, adding that Japan will work closely with them to keep the deal.

U.S. President Donald Trump announced Tuesday his country's withdrawal from the agreement and pledged "the highest level of economic sanction" against the Iranian regime, which he called "the leading state sponsor of terror."

Under the 2015 deal struck between Iran and six major powers -- Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia and the United States under Trump's Democratic predecessor Barack Obama -- Tehran agreed to curb its nuclear activities in exchange for the lifting of crippling economic sanctions.

Japan, which has expressed support for the deal, will carefully analyze the implications of the U.S. announcement and closely follow developments, according to the statement.

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