TEHRAN, Feb. 10 (UPI) -- Iran aims to advance employment by bringing younger workers into a modernizing petrochemical sector, members of the Iranian parliament said.
A profile from the World Bank described the unemployment rate under sanctions as "stubbornly high." With sanctions pressures mounting ahead of last year's multilateral nuclear agreement, Iran's unemployment rate in 2014 was 11.4 percent. For women, the rate was higher at 20.3 percent. For workers under the age of 29, for men the rate was 17.9 percent and 39 percent for women.
"Underemployment is largely concentrated among the youth population," the World Bank said.
Iran's Ministry of Labor and Social Welfare presented plans to members of the Iranian parliament, known as the Majlis, to create 1 million jobs for the next calendar year, which begins in March. Speaking to the Oil Ministry's news website SHANA, Majlis member Esmaeil Jalili said Iran could tap into the youth population with the right programs in place.
"Reliance and maximum exploitation of domestic labor, utilizing creating youths and the lessons learned from the sanctions will help us implement principles of the economy," he said.
Lawmakers in Tehran said tackling unemployment was one of the top economic priorities for Iran in the post-sanctions era.
Iran secured some relief from sanctions when European financial doors opened somewhat in January after it was confirmed Tehran was implementing the terms of last year's nuclear agreement, which pulled Iran back from the brink of a weapons program.
Iranian commerce officials met in Tehran this week with Italian business representatives to review opportunities in the oil and gas sector. Iran now has the right to pursue energy partnerships, authorities said.