Abstract

In the 1960s and 1970s, the largest U.S. chemical firm, E. I. du Pont de Nemours & Company, established an international presence in synthetic fibers by building plants to make nylon, polyester, and acrylic in Latin America and Europe. DuPont managers also looked to the Middle East, specifically to Iran, which was fast industrializing under Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi. The Shah’s pro-Western stance and his country’s rich oil fields made Iran appealing to a petrochemical giant like DuPont, which used petroleum feed stocks to make fibers and other products. In the 1970s, DuPont partnered with the Behshahr Industrial Group, a conglomerate run by the Ledjavardi clan, one of Iran’s leading families, to build a high-tech fiber facility that would help modernize the Iranian textile industry. The story of this short-lived joint venture, a victim of the Islamic Revolution, demonstrates the challenges to multinationals operating in imperial Iran, and shows how the daily experience of dealing with cultural differences often masked larger political and economic troubles.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1467-2235
Print ISSN
1467-2227
Pages
pp. 670-723
Launched on MUSE
2008-12-14
Open Access
No
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