Iranian Parliament Speaker Hashemi Rafsanjani met with President Mikhail S. Gorbachev today during an official visit designed to strengthen ties between the nations.
Rafsanjani, also acting commander in chief of the armed forces, is the highest-ranking official of the Islamic Republic to visit its northern neighbor since the 1979 Islamic revolution. He also is expected to seek military aid.
He was greeted by Gorbachev on his arrival today at the Grand Kremlin Palace and the two leaders promptly adjourned to the ornate, crystal-lit St. Catherine's Hall for discussions, the official Tass press agency said.
"In the Soviet Union there is confidence that the visit by Rafsanjani will give fresh impetus to the continued progress of Soviet-Iranian relations . . . and will help improve mutual understanding and strengthen cooperation between the two countries," Tass said.
Tass said the Soviet Union was intent on developing strong relations with Iran "despite essential ideological differences between the two countries."