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Rafsanjani Visits Saudi Arabia

February 22, 1998

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia (AP) _ Iran’s former president arrived in Saudi Arabia on Saturday for a visit to boost cooperation between the two oil giants, whose relations are improving after nearly two decades of hostility.

Former President Hashemi Rafsanjani headed a a delegation that includes Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh.

Iranian newspapers said talks during the 10-day visit wouild center on shoring up sagging oil prices. The two countries are OPEC’s top producers.

The leaders are also expected to discuss the crisis over the threatened U.S. military strike against Iraq.

Relations between the two nations began to sour after the 1979 Iranian revolution, when the late Iranian leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini frequently described the Saudis as ``American mercenaries″ because of the kingdom’s close ties with the United States.

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