Abe warns of accidental US-Iran conflict

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has met with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani in Tehran.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has met with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani in Tehran.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has travelled to Tehran to warn that an "accidental conflict" could be sparked amid heightened tensions between Iran and the US.

Abe's message on Wednesday came hours after Yemen's Iranian-backed Houthi rebels attacked a Saudi airport, wounding 26 people.

The prime minister's trip is the highest-level effort yet to de-escalate the crisis as Tehran appears poised to break the 2015 nuclear deal it struck with world powers, an accord the Trump administration pulled out of last year.

It's also the first visit of a sitting Japanese premier in the 40 years since the Islamic Revolution.

But success may prove difficult for Abe, as the Houthi rebel attack on Saudi's Abha regional airport underscored.

Separately, the front page of the Iranian daily Farheekhtegan, or Educated, published on Wednesday morning a picture of a mushroom cloud from a nuclear blast - a reference to America's bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki at the end of World War II.

"How Can You Trust A War Criminal, Mr Abe?" the newspaper asked in dual English and Farsi headlines.

Hardline news outlets in Iran immediately picked up the front page from the paper, published by students of Islamic Azad University, which has campuses across the nation.

Abe met Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on Wednesday and will see Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khameini on Thursday.

"There is possibility of an accidental conflict and a military conflict should be prevented at all costs," the Japanese leader said.

Abe landed just hours after the attack in Abha. The Yemeni rebels, known as Houthis, said they launched a cruise missile at the Saudi airport, while the kingdom said 26 people were hurt.

Australian Associated Press