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Iran's oil terminals move to private hands

TEHRAN, Sept. 21 (UPI) -- The government in Iran announced plans to unload 40 percent of its stake in the state-controlled Iranian Oil Terminals Co. to the private sector.

Ali Kardour, the head of a national privatization working group, said the transfer was part of a national plan to expand oil storage facilities, the Mehr News Agency reports.

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"The ownership of the jetties, metering facilities and storage tanks will still remain in government hands," he added.

Iran took state control over most of the economy following the revolution in 1979. In the wake of the Iran-Iraq war, however, the government moved to privatize various market sectors in an effort to stimulate the economy.

Iran amended its Constitution in 2004 to push toward privatization, and in 2008 Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei called on the government to hasten those efforts.

Iranian Oil Terminals Co., a division of the National Iranian Oil Co., has four transport hubs that load more than 2,000 oil tankers per year.

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