KUALA LUMPUR, Oct. 17 -- Iranian President Ali Akhbar Hashemi Rafsanjani arrived Monday in Malaysia with a 100-member delegation for a three-day official visit focused on bilaterial relations. Iran's Ambassador to Malaysia Ahmad Ajallooeian said Tehran hopes to follow up agreements signed last April in Iran by Malaysia's Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, and to discuss other arrangements - particularly trade.
Rafsanjani, on the last leg of a weeklong three-nation tour that has already taken him to Indonesia and Brunei, was invited by Malaysian King Tuanku Ja'afar to review relations between the two countries. Ajallooeian said that while the balance of trade is currently in Malaysia's favor there are considerable business opportunities for both countries. Although the volume of trade between the two countries last year amounted to an estimated $120 million it does not reflect the 'real potential' of trade and therefore needs to be exploited, he said. Presently, Iran and Malaysia only exchange petroleum, commodities and manufactured products. Rafsanjani, who will meet with Mahathir and local businessmen, will raise the question of trading more food and agricultural goods, as well as manufactured products, Ajallooeian said. Rafsanjani will also discuss palm oil research, a subject that was not raised during Mahathir's visit to Iran, he said. Iran has been importing Malaysian palm oil. The Iranian delegation also included Masoud Rughani Zanjani, Iran's vice president and head of budget planning, Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Velayati, Minister of Mines and Metals Hossein Mahlouji and Minister of Industries Mohammad Reza Nematzadeh and Rafsanjani's wife Effat Hashemi Bahramani.