Refined polymers and compounds are found in everything from fertilisers and plastics to laundry detergents, paper and clothing. While many people may not be as familiar with petrochemicals as the oil and gas from which they are derived, for the Islamic Republic they are crucial.
"Petrochemicals have been a major source of revenues and non-oil exports for Iran," Rachel Ziemba, a sanctions expert at the Center for a New American Security, told Middle East Eye.
In July, Iran said it would increase petrochemical production by 54 percent over the next four years. The industry already accounts for one-third of Iran's non-oil exports. In 2020, Iran sold about $20bn worth of petrochemicals, twice the value of its crude exports.
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