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Polyacryl Iran Corporation records

1972-1997 Majority of material found within 1974-1984
 Collection
Accession: 2370

Abstract

Polyacryl Iran Corporation (PIC) manufactured polyester and acrylic synthetic textiles in Iran. It was incorporated in August 1974 as a joint venture between E.I. du Pont de Nemours & Company, one of the largest U.S. chemical firms, and the Behshahr Industrial Development Corporation, a conglomerate run by the influential Lajevardian family. Because of political unrest within the country, DuPont shut the plant down in early 1979 with the hope of resuming operations at a later date. When Iran's textile industry was nationalized under Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini following the Islamic Revolution, DuPont initiated legal action for claims against PIC and the Iranian government. An international court reviewed DuPont's claims and directed the Islamic Republic of Iran to reimburse DuPont for $42 million. The American records of the Polyacryl Iran Corporation document DuPont's role in the transfer of American technology to Iran, the fate of Western interests during the Iranian Revolution, and the subsequent expropriation and pursuit of damage claims. Because of the litigation surrounding the termination of DuPont's participation in the project, the records contain extensive plant design and managerial training documents that give a detailed picture of a state-of-the-art synthetic textile factory of the late 1970s.

Dates

  • 1972-1997
  • Majority of material found within 1974-1984

Creator

Extent

65 Linear Feet

Historical Note

Polyacryl Iran Corporation (PIC) manufactured polyester and acrylic synthetic textiles in Iran. It was incorporated in August 1974 as a joint venture between E.I. du Pont de Nemours & Company, one of the largest U.S. chemical firms, and the Behshahr Industrial Development Corporation, a conglomerate run by the influential Lajevardian family.

DuPont provided technical expertise, designed a plant to be built in Isfahan, and trained Iranian managers and technicians. The scheme had the approval of Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlevi as part of his modernization program. The Isfahan Plant produced the first acrylic fibers made in Iran on August 29, 1978. The DuPont/Iranian Joint Venture lasted from its inception through the final departure of U.S. personnel in 1979.

Between 1974 and 1978, DuPont planned, designed, and constructed the Isfahan production facility. The project was divided into three phases. Phase I encompassed the design and construction of the facility in Isfahan between 1974 and 1978. During this time, DuPont employees trained Iranian employees in Iran, Europe, and the U.S. Phase II encompassed start-up operations from 1978 to 1983. Phase III encompassed full operations in the 1980s. The actual production of polyester and acrylic staple began in the second half of 1978 with a staff of mostly Iranian workers. As a side note, the Polyacryl Trading Company (PTC), a wholly owned subsidiary of PIC, was formed in early 1977 for purchasing, importing, and reselling polyester and acrylic fiber in Iran.

Ownership of PIC as of June 1, 1979, was: DuPont, 40%; Ladjevardi Group, 22%; Industrial & Mining Development Bank of Iran, 28%; Industrial Credit Bank, 5%; International Bank of Iran & Japan, 2.5%; and Textile Manufactures, 2.5%.

No sooner had the plant become operational than the first rumblings of the revolution that would topple the Shah swept the country. The Islamic Revolution (also known as the Iranian Revolution or 1979 Revolution) refers to the events leading to the overthrow of Iran's monarchy under Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi and its replacement with the Islamic Republic under Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the leader of the revolution. Between August and December 1978, demonstrations and strikes against the Shah paralyzed the country. The Shah and his wife, Empress Farah, left Tehran in mid-January 1979 and flew to Egypt in exile. Two weeks after the Shah's departure, Iran's main spiritual leader, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, returned to Tehran from exile in France on February 1, 1979. He became Supreme Leader of the country in December 1979. The Shah never returned to Iran and died in Egypt in 1980.

DuPont curtailed operations and evacuated its last personnel at the beginning of January 1979, a few weeks before the Shah fled. The Ayatollah Khomeini's Islamic Republic of Iran subsequently nationalized the company in July 1979.

In 1980, DuPont-trained Iranians had resumed production operations at the Polyacryl plant. DuPont initiated legal action for claims against PIC and the Iranian government at about the same time. DuPont was eventually awarded $42 million in compensation. The company remains at the center of Iran's synthetic textile industry.

Scope and Contents

The American records of the Polyacryl Iran Corporation document DuPont's role in the transfer of American technology to Iran, the fate of Western interests during the Iranian Revolution, and the subsequent expropriation and pursuit of damage claims. Because of the litigation surrounding the termination of DuPont's participation in the project, the records contain extensive plant design and managerial training documents that give a detailed picture of a state-of-the-art synthetic textile factory of the late 1970s.

The PIC board of directors meetings series covers the period from August 1974 to May 1979. The files contain copies of minutes of the PIC board of directors meetings held in Iran and Wilmington, Delaware. They include attachments of reports on operations, production, costs, and financial issues.

The PIC administration series cover the initial planning and forecasting for the project, the difficulties created by the Iranian Revolution, and the settlement of international claims and counterclaims. The series has been divided into two subseries: Administrators and Claims and counterclaims.

The Administrators subseries contains informational/subject files, correspondence and chronological messages, and handwritten notes dealing with PIC project 2595. The information provides details on the initial planning and forecasting of the Iranian venture. Much of the information dated 1978 to 1979 goes into detail about the difficulties encountered due to political unrest within Iran and changes in the government structure. Correspondence and reports dated 1979 to 1980 deal with closing financial, regulatory, business, and interrelational issues between the Iranian government, PIC, DuPont, and the international community.

The Administrators subseries has been organized by administrators involved with the PIC project. These include Carl W. Borden, Director, Support Activities; W.M. McCabe Jr., Assistant to the Director, DuPont Support Activities; C.V. Burdick, Assisstant to Polyester Product Superintendent Bellaire Liaison; W.B. Blakey, Product Superintendent Acrylic, Iranian Venture; T.N. Spink, Deputy Works Director, Isfahan Plant; and Reference materials.

The Claims and counterclaims subseries documents DuPont's claim against PIC and the Islamic Republic, with details on counterclaims and supporting materials. It includes information dealing with start-up, production, closing costs, and related issues of the Iranian venture, as well as supporting documents, valuation, and financial models used in arbitration and counterclaims, and a copy of Technical Information Agreement 1981.

The PIC finance and invoices series contains general financial records dealing with PIC budgets, expenses, cash flows, and invoices. Also included in this series are several copies of the Glossary of Industrial and Textile Terms. Some materials are in Farsi. The PIC personnel series includes job descriptions, the training of Iranian employees, and performance reports. The PIC plant files series contains detailed technical information and photographs of the construction of the Isfahan plant and a port facility to receive raw materials. The series is organized into three subseries: Plant design and construction, Port facility, and Basic planning data.

The Plant design and construction subseries contains technical information and photographs covering aspects of the construction of the plant and supporting facilities, as well as project objectives, technology, equipment, processes, and environmental matters.

The Port facility subseries contains information on the construction of a port facility to receive raw materials and export finished products.

The Basic planning data subseries contains basic planning data on the Isfahan Plant project.

The PIC standard operating and maintenance procedures and training manuals series consists of manuals containing step-by-step instructions for training personnel to operate and maintain the facility. These include operations training and procedures manuals, equipment training, control equipment procedures, and maintenance procedures manuals.

Access Restrictions

This collection is open for research.


Additional Information

Related Names

Creator

Finding Aid & Administrative Information

Title:
Polyacryl Iran Corporation records
Status:
Author:
Rainer Naus
Date:
2011 March
Description rules:
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description:
English
Script of description:
Latin

Revision Statements

  • 2020: Marsha Mills
  • 2022: Laurie Sather
  • 2022: Diane E. Bockrath

Repository Details

Repository Details

Part of the Manuscripts and Archives Repository

Contact:
PO Box 3630
Wilmington Delaware 19807 USA
302-658-2400