Dakar : Iran will build an oil refinery and petrochemical plant in Senegal and speed up plans to construct a car factory there, the West African country's government said in a statement published yesterday.

The statement followed a cabinet meeting late on Thursday in which Senegal President Abdoulaye Wade briefed ministers on talks last week with visiting Iranian officials.

"The head of state, on this occasion, highly appreciated the decision taken by the Iranian authorities to implement the agreements signed with our country which are, among others, speeding up the building of a car assembly plant - Iran Khodro - [and] the construction of a petrochemicals factory and refinery in Senegal," the statement said.

Last year, Senegal said Iran Khodro, the Middle East's biggest car maker, would start building its Samand cars within 16 months at a new $80 million assembly plant in Senegal.

The car plant, SenIran Auto, was to be 60 per cent owned by Iran Khodro.