Abbas Milani

Research Fellow

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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Recent Commentary


Abbas Milani: Biden Administration Should Strike A New Deal With Iran

interview with Abbas Milanivia Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies
Saturday, December 18, 2021

Hoover Institution fellow Abbas Milani discusses the Iranian economy, the future of Iran’s leadership, and what a potential nuclear deal could mean for the US.

A Caliphate in the Making?

by Abbas Milanivia Hoover Digest
Monday, October 18, 2021
The election of a new, hard-line president shows that moderation—whether foreign or domestic—remains a mirage.

The End Of The Islamic Republic

by Abbas Milanivia Project Syndicate
Tuesday, June 22, 2021

Sayyid Ebrahim Raisi’s victory in Iran’s presidential election places all of the country’s levers of power in the hands of regime hardliners for the first time in decades. But behind the apparent consolidation of power, domestic turmoil looms as the country's structural challenges worsen.


Abbas Milani On Background Briefing With Ian Masters

interview with Abbas Milanivia Background Briefing with Ian Masters
Monday, June 21, 2021

(20:23) Hoover Institution fellow Abbas Milani discusses the new president of Iran.


Abbas Milani: Biden And Putin Will Discuss Iran

interview with Abbas Milanivia PBS SoCal
Thursday, June 17, 2021

Hoover Institution fellow Abbas Milani discusses what this week’s presidential election in Iran portends for Iran and the US especially since it is widely expected voters will elect cleric and judiciary chief Ebrahim Raisi who is an anti-western hard-liner.


Abbas Milani: 'He Is As Infamous As You Can Get'

interview with Abbas Milanivia CNN
Tuesday, June 15, 2021

Hoover Institution fellow Abbas Milani talks about Ebrahim Raisi, the man widely expected to be Iran's next president, and prospects for the nuclear deal.


Abbas Milani: Iranian American Historian On Assassination Of Iranian Nuclear Scientist

interview with Abbas Milanivia All Things Considered (NPR)
Monday, November 30, 2020

Hoover Institution fellow Abbas Milani discusses the assassination of an Iranian nuclear scientist.

Analysis and Commentary

Iran Deserves A Red Card For Its Human Rights Abuses

by Shirin Ebadi, Abbas Milani, Hamid Moghadamvia The Hill
Wednesday, October 7, 2020

The government of the Islamic Republic of Iran has become increasingly paranoid, and thus even more of a pariah. It is concerned about signs of seething popular anger over the dire economic conditions of its people. The regime’s inept management of the coronavirus pandemic and sanctions imposed by the U.S. have compounded these tensions. Nothing captures the nature of the country’s economic woes as well as the fall in the value of the country’s currency.

In the News

Iranian Maestro Blasts Artists Serving Politics

quoting Abbas Milanivia Radio Farda
Monday, September 21, 2020

Artists at the "service of politics" are "despicable and untalented" individuals longing for power, the master of classical Iranian music Mohammad Reza Shajarian recently claimed.

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How to Win by Losing

by Abbas Milanivia Hoover Digest
Monday, January 20, 2020

The mullahs have their pride—and their reasons for pursuing nuclear status. America should seek careful, face-saving compromises.