Abbas Milani
Expertise: 

Abbas Milani

Research Fellow
Biography: 

Abbas Milani is a research fellow and codirector of the Iran Democracy Project at the Hoover Institution. In addition, Milani is the Hamid and Christina Moghadam Director of Iranian Studies at Stanford University. His expertise is US/Iran relations and Iranian cultural, political, and security issues.

Before coming to Hoover, Milani was a professor of history and political science and chair of the department at Notre Dame de Namur University and a research fellow at the Institute of International Studies at the University of California at Berkeley, in addition to being an assistant professor in the faculty of law and political science at Tehran University and a member of the board of directors of Tehran University's Center for International Studies from 1979 to 1987. Milani was also a research fellow at the Iranian Center for Social Research from 1977 to 1978 and an assistant professor at the National University of Iran from 1975 to 1977.

His most recent publication is The Shah (2012). He is the author of The Myth of the Great Satan: A New Look at America's Relations with Iran (Hoover Institution Press, 2010); Eminent Persians: Men and Women Who Made Modern Iran, 1941–1979, 2 vols.( Syracuse University Press, November 2008); King of Shadows: Essays on Iran’s Encounter with Modernity, Persian text published in the United States (Ketab Corp., spring 2005); Lost Wisdom: Rethinking Persian Modernity in Iran (Mage, 2004); The Persian Sphinx: Amir Abbas Hoveyda and the Riddle of the Iranian Revolution (Mage, 2000); Modernity and Its Foes in Iran (Gardon Press, 1998); Modernity and Its Foes in Iran (Gardon Press, 1998); Tales of Two Cities: A Persian Memoir (Mage 1996); On Democracy and Socialism, a collection of articles coauthored with Faramarz Tabrizi Pars Press, 1987); and Malraux and the Tragic Vision (Agah Press, 1982). Milani has also translated numerous books and articles into Persian and English.

Milani's articles have been published in journals, magazines, and newspapers. He has been interviewed for national and international radio and television programs.

He is a member of the American Association of Political Science, the American Academy of Political and Social Science, and the Association of Iranian Studies.

Milani received his BA in political science and economics from the University of California at Berkeley and his PhD in political science from the University of Hawaii.

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Featured AnalysisFeatured

A Trench War In The Digital Age: The Case Of Iran

by Abbas Milanivia The Caravan
Monday, June 12, 2017

A trench war, fought in our labyrinthine digital world, has been raging in the Islamic Republic of Iran for more than two decades. On one side is a youthful internet-savvy society—adept at the gender-neutral, hierarchy-averse pluralism of platforms and networks—a society craving to join the 21st century. On the other side is a clerical despotic regime with a claim to divine legitimacy, a parallel male-dominated septuagenarian elite, enamored of gender-apartheid and of ideas more than a millennium old—a power structure that is retrograde, passé and stale, compared to the vibrancy of Iranian society at large.  

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The Rouhani Factor

by Abbas Milanivia Project Syndicate
Monday, May 22, 2017

Iran’s presidential election on May 19 was paradoxical and potentially pivotal. It began as a sleepy affair – a likely victory for the incumbent, Hassan Rouhani, running against a motley crew of conservative has-beens or upstarts. Moreover, a two-term presidency has been the default in the Islamic Republic since 1981. Early attacks on Rouhani were thus seen as efforts by Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, his conservative clerical allies, and the Revolutionary Guards to weaken and contain the incumbent in his second term.

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A 'City On A Hill' As A Fortress In A Moat

by Abbas Milani, Larry Diamond, Michael McFaulvia The Atlantic
Friday, February 3, 2017

The notion that one form of prejudice can defeat another is an illusion.

The View From the Toppled by Abbas Milani
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The View From The Toppled

by Abbas Milanivia Wall Street Journal
Friday, August 5, 2016

The Shah saw political Islam as an antidote to communism, and did not repress clerics as enemies.

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Riyadh’s Double Bind

by Abbas Milanivia Hoover Digest
Monday, July 11, 2016

Saudi Arabia both nurtures Wahhabi activism and struggles to tame it. 

Featured AnalysisFeatured

A Perfect Storm In Saudi Arabia

by Abbas Milanivia The Caravan
Wednesday, February 17, 2016

A perfect storm is brewing for Saudi Arabia. Ominous clouds are gathering on the country’s domestic, regional and global horizons. Virtually every once-reliable pillar of the kingdom’s stability is facing daunting challenges.

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Abbas Milani: ISIS, Iran, Saudi Arabia And The Future

by Abbas Milanivia Hoover Institution
Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Abbas Milani, a research fellow and codirector of the Iran Democracy Project at the Hoover Institution, discusses ISIS, Iran, Saudi Arabia, and the future of the Middle East. Successive US administrations have declared Iran to be one of America’s most serious national security threats. Yet the last four wars the US has fought in the region — in Afghanistan, in the two wars in Iraq and in the current war with ISIS—have resulted in either removing or containing Iran’s powerful adversaries. 

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A Chance for Iranian Reform

by Abbas Milani, Michael McFaulvia Hoover Digest
Wednesday, January 27, 2016

The Obama administration’s nuclear deal, many Iranians believe, could encourage changes in Iran itself.

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Forces Of Change Are Coming to Iran

by Abbas Milanivia The New York Times
Thursday, January 21, 2016

Successive U.S. administrations have declared Iran to be one of America’s most serious national security threats. Yet the last four wars the U.S. has fought in the region — in Afghanistan, in the two wars in Iraq and in the current war with ISIS—have resulted in either removing or containing Iran’s powerful adversaries.

Analysis and Commentary

What The Iran-Deal Debate Is Like In Iran

by Abbas Milani, Michael McFaulvia The Atlantic
Tuesday, August 11, 2015

The agreement has divided Iranians into camps that could shape the future of the country.

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