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Iran's best foot forward

The petrochemicals sector seeks to overcome financing and previous mismanagement problems to prepare for its expansion

A strip of coast in southern Iran, hemmed in between mountains and the sea, is shrouded in dust in the day and lit up by gas flares at night. Around the Pars Special Economic Zone and the town of Assaluyeh, a massive petrochemical hub is taking shape. This is one facet of Iran's push into the sector, held up for many years and still facing numerous challenges. But it is set to grow steadily over the next few years. Iran's petrochemical sector is already the second-largest in the Middle East, after Saudi Arabia's. It has many potential strengths: massive gas resources that also yield ethane and liquid hydrocarbons; a strong geographic position; a large domestic population with a well-educate

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