Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida on Wednesday reiterated Japan's support for the 2015 Iran nuclear agreement in his meeting with Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi, as talks continue to salvage the accord reached between the Middle Eastern country and major powers, the Japanese government said.

Meeting Raisi in New York on the fringes of the U.N. General Assembly's annual session, they had a "candid" exchange of opinions with Kishida saying Japan has "consistently supported" the nuclear deal and hopes that Tehran returns to the agreement that restricts Iran's nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief, according to the Japanese Foreign Ministry.

They agreed to maintain close communication on the issue, the ministry added.

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida (L) and Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi hold talks on Sept. 21, 2022, in New York. (Kyodo)

Negotiations on the pact, struck between Iran and Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia and the United States, have been stalled since Washington withdrew from the pact in 2018 as then President Donald Trump criticized the deal as flawed and reimposed sanctions on Tehran.

In return, Iran violated some of the restrictions under the agreement.

Japan has shown its support for the agreement in the hope of bringing stability to the Middle East on which it relies for oil imports.

During the talks, Kishida and Raisi pledged to work together toward further strengthening the "long-standing friendship" between the two countries, the ministry said.

They also exchanged views on other issues including the situation in Yemen and other parts of the Middle East as well as Russia's war in Ukraine, according to the ministry.

Raisi conveyed his condolences again to Kishida over the death of former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who was fatally shot during a stump speech in July in western Japan, the ministry added.

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