Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is heading to Iran with a keen eye on international sanctions and domestic politics.
The visit, which begins Wednesday, is partly aimed at easing tensions between Washington and Tehran over Iran's nuclear programme.However, observers have expressed doubt over what can actually be achieved.
For Mr Abe, the trip might help boost his image as a global statesman ahead of elections back home, experts say.
Mr Abe will be the first Japanese prime minister to visit Iran in four decades, and is expected to hold talks both with Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and President Hassan Rouhani.
Why is Abe going to Iran?
Officially, Japan and Iran are marking the 90th anniversary of their diplomatic relationship this year.
Much more significant is that the trip comes shortly after US President Donald Trump made a state visit to Japan.And US relations with Iran have nosedived over Washington's withdrawal from a 2015 nuclear deal over Iran's nuclear programme.
Tensions escalated further when the US sent an aircraft carrier to the region, raising fears of an actual confrontation.