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Iran opens $300mln worth of metals, manufacturing projects

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Photo shows a view to the furnace in Alborz Nab Arash steel mill, a plant located in the northern province of Zanjan that was inaugurated by Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on February 4, 2021.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has inaugurated five major metals and manufacturing projects amid efforts by his administration to diversify the economy away from oil and create permanent jobs for the country’s youth population.

Rouhani’s website said in a Thursday report after he opened the projects virtually that the government had spent 70 trillion rials ($291 million) to complete the five plants located in the northern province of Zanjan.

The report said a total of 1,768 permanent jobs would be created in the five plants which include two steel mills, an iron ore enrichment plant, a textile factory and a bottle manufacturing facility.

After opening the projects, Rouhani hailed the expansion of Iran’s steel industry over the past few years, saying setting up steel mills in east and west of the country had sparked economic growth in those regions.

The Iranian president further defended his administration’s records in the sector, saying Iran’s raw steel output had exceeded 26 million tons per annum (mtpa), up from 15 mtpa in 2013 when he came into office.

He said output capacity for finished steel products had more than tripled in seven years to reach 56 mpta.

Facing US sanctions that have hampered its sales of crude, Iran has increasingly tapped its mineral reserves in recent years to both diversify the economy and to create jobs for the youth.

Trade of metals and mining products has been major source of earning hard currency for the government at a time it faces reduced revenues from oil exports.

Expansion of the steel industry has also led to more manufacturing activity in Iran’s automotive and home appliances sectors where output has grown steadily over the past two years in the absence of foreign-manufactured products in the market.

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