Long renowned for their individualism, Iranians now actively associate with modern public and private organizations. Under the shah, the government greatly encouraged the growth of the cooperative movement; the first Workers' Consumers Society was established in 1948. Many villages have founded producers' cooperatives with official advice and support, and consumers' cooperatives exist among governmental employees and members of the larger industrial and service organizations. Rural cooperative societies are wide spread.
Private charitable organizations date from as early as 1923, when the Iranian Red Lion and Sun Society (corresponding to the Red Cross/Red Crescent) was established. Other charitable institutions include the Organization for Social Services and the Mother and Infant Protection Institute. The Islamic Women's institute is active. The Society to Combat the Use of Opium has waged a campaign against use of the drug. The Boy Scout movement in Iran began before World War II. The Chamber of Commerce, Industries, and Mines has its headquarters in Tehran.