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The Iran–America Society was founded in the 1950s in Tehran, Iran to promote understanding between the people of Iran and the people of the United States of America. The founding Chairman of the Board was Ralph E. Becket. David Nalle was one of its early directors. Its office in Washington, DC arranged educational exchanges for Iranian students. Its Cultural Center in Tehran became a gathering place for Iranian students and intellectuals in the 1960s who were drawn by the liberalizing influence of American culture on Iran. A second branch was founded in Isfahan a few years later as well as a third in Mashad. All three centers included English language schools.
The society sponsored an exhibit of Iranian art and cultural artifacts which toured the United States in 1964.
The Cultural Center in Tehran was bombed in 1978 as part of the uprising against the Shah. The Cultural Centers in Tehran and Isfahan were both closed in November, 1979, when the attack on the US Embassy occurred. The last IAS director in Tehran, Kathryn Koob, was held hostage at the US Embassy for 444 days. The last IAS director in Isfahan, Dennis Wilson, was accused of running a center for espionage, but the charges were dismissed by the Revolutionary Court after an investigation produced no evidence.
The Iran-America Society was also in Shiraz.
- Statement from President Lyndon Johnson on the society on the occasion of its national exhibit in 1964.
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