societal values
american individualism
rule of law
evolving democratic capitalism
economic prosperity

Iran Democracy Project Essays and Speeches

June 19, 2007

The Wrong Lessons

The next step we should take? Neither attack nor appeasement, but negotiations—about everything. By Michael McFaul and Abbas Milani.

May 30, 2007

Prospects for Democracy in Iran

Democracy is a gift only a nation can give itself. Even then, it can give it solely after its body politic has reached certain maturity, and has developed the requisite organs of political mediation—from civil society and a propertied middle-class to a culture of religious tolerance and epistemological and political pluralism. There is, then, an implicit Historic law of democratic determinism. And the history of modern Iran has been, hitherto, a tragic tale of rulers and intellectuals ignoring these laws, trying to bring democracy too soon, or halting its overdue arrival. The Islamic Revolution of itself was the result of a modernizing but authoritarian monarch realizing only too late the force of this democratic determinism. Ironically the very clerics who hijacked that democratic movement and went on to create a theocratic despotism are still harboring the delusion that they can ignore the very laws that brought them to power. They have now pinned their hopes first on sheer brutality, and secondarily on emulating the China model, or more specifically of affording people the economic benefits of a controlled market economy, while ruling over them with an iron fist.

April 1, 2007

How to Turn Iran Upside Down

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Tehran’s hard-liners yearn for a U.S. attack, knowing it would make them stronger. Why oblige them? By Abbas Milani, Larry Diamond, and Michael McFaul.

January 31, 2007

Understanding the Iran Crisis

Testimony of Dr. Abbas Milani, Co-Director of the Iran Democracy Project at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University, before the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Foreign Affairs

December 19, 2006

A Win-Win U.S. Strategy for Dealing with Iran

The United States needs a bold and fundamentally different strategy, proposed here, which would engage the Iranian regime and people on two tracks, allowing U.S. diplomats to pursue arms control and democratization at the same time.

October 30, 2006

What Ahmadinejad Thinks He's Doing

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Hezbollah is Iran’s tool in exporting revolution. But a lot of the power brokers in Tehran don’t want to risk their $70 billion a year in oil loot on a group of crazies in southern Lebanon. By Abbas Milani.

April 30, 2006

How Iran Can Yet Be Tamed

Behind the scenes in Tehran, a fierce power struggle is now taking place. The West can exploit it. By Michael McFaul and Abbas Milani.

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October 30, 2005

Iran’s New President

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How can we deal with the nuclear threat from Iran? By encouraging democracy in Iran. By Abbas Milani.

July 30, 2005

The Passive Revolution

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Hard-liners may have gained a near stranglehold over the political and judicial sectors in Iran, but there is one critical sector they do not control—the people. By Jared A. Cohen and Abbas Milani.

January 30, 2005

Give Diplomacy a Chance

In dealing with Tehran, diplomacy is a lot more likely to work than military action. By Michael McFaul and Abbas Milani.