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Ending Ban on Petrochemical Gear to Iran Would Boost EU-based Firms

Iranian Charm Offensive Aimed at Luring Western Companies Back to Islamic Republic

TEHRAN—European companies are likely to benefit most if a ban on selling petrochemical technologies into Iran is lifted, a top Iranian official said.

The European Union Monday is set to temporarily ease restrictions on Iranian exports of petrochemical products, but a prohibition to sell technologies related to the sector into the Islamic Republic will remain in place. While that ban isn't likely to fall away soon, a recent diplomatic détente between Tehran and the West has triggered a public charm offensive by Iranian officials, aimed at luring Western companies back to Iran.

Sanction-relief measures coming into force Monday would allow EU-based companies to buy, import, insure and transport petrochemicals from Iran, something that has been prohibited since 2012.

In an interview with The Wall Street Journal here this weekend, Mohammad-Hossein Peyvandi, deputy head of Iran's state-controlled National Petrochemical Co., said ending a ban on selling petrochemical technologies to Iran would "have an impact on European countries.

"Historically, we have relied more on the European market for technologies," he said, citing Italy, France and Germany as potential beneficiaries.

Mr. Peyvandi said Iran's petrochemical sector will spend $70 billion in the next 10 years, though he said the plans are partly contingent on sanctions being lifted.

As a result, he said, Iran's petrochemicals sector could generate an annual $50 billion in revenues by the next decade, up from $21 billion in the last Persian year ended March 2013, he said.

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Write to Benoît Faucon at benoit.faucon@wsj.com

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