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Japanese giant may quit Iranian chemical project

The Japanese government paved the way for the giant Mitsui Industrial Group's possib le withdrawal from a multibillion-dollar petrochemical project in Iran because of heightened political tension there. It said it might pay export insurance to the group to cover losses if it decides to pull out of the troubled 50-50 joint venture -- Japan's biggest overseas deal ever.

Banking sources said the group might be able to withdraw from the project, stalled since the Iranian revolution began in 1979, if the government, which has invested in the project, agreed to pay insurance to cover $870 million of exports.

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