TEHRAN (Press Shia) – Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is considering visiting Iran in July for talks with President Hassan Rouhani, Japanese government sources said.

The trip would be the first visit to Iran by a sitting Japanese prime minister since Takeo Fukuda visited the country in 1978, Kyodo News reported on Thursday.

The envisaged visit would be part of Abe's trip to Europe and the Middle East slated for mid-July.

Abe is expected to reiterate Japan’s continued support for the 2015 nuclear deal between Tehran and world powers after US President Donald Trump’s pullout from the agreement in May.

Tokyo is also seeking to strengthen economic ties with Tehran, a major producer of oil and natural gas.

Abe is planning to travel to the Middle East after visiting Belgium and France. In Brussels, the prime minister plans to sign a free trade agreement between Japan and the European Union.

Aside from Iran, Abe is considering visiting Saudi Arabia and Egypt as well, according to the sources.

Abe will finalize the itinerary soon, the sources said.