Abbas Milani

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Abbas Milani
Milani Abbas cropped.jpg
Milani in 2010
Abbas Malekzadeh Milani

1949 (age 70–71)
Academic background
Alma mater
ThesisIdeology and the Iranian Constitutional Revolution: The Political Economy of the Ideological Currents of the Constitutional Revolution (1975)
Academic work

Abbas Malekzadeh Milani (Persian: عباس ملک‌زاده میلانی‎; born 1949) is an Iranian-American historian and author. Milani is a visiting professor of Political Science and the director of the Iranian Studies program at Stanford University. He is also a research fellow and co-director of the Iran Democracy Project at Stanford University's Hoover Institution. Milani has found evidence that Persian modernism dates back to more than 1,000 years ago.[1][self-published source?]


Milani was born in Iran to a prosperous family and was sent to California when he was sixteen, graduating from Oakland Technical High School in 1966 after only one year of studies.[2] Milani earned his B.A. in political science and economics[citation needed] from the University of California, Berkeley in 1970 and his Ph.D. in political science from the University of Hawaii in 1974.

With his girlfriend Fereshteh, Milani returned to Iran to serve as an assistant professor of political science at the National University of Iran from 1975 to 1977.[2] He lectured on Marxist themes veiled in metaphor but was jailed for two years as a political prisoner for "activities against the government".[2] He was a research fellow at the Iranian Center for Social Research from 1977 to 1978. He was also an assistant professor of law and political science at the University of Tehran and a member of the board of directors of Tehran University's Center for International Studies from 1979 to 1986, but after the Iranian Revolution he was not allowed to publish or teach.[2] He left Iran in 1986 during the time of the Iran–Iraq War for the United States, and his son Hamid and his wife Fereshteh followed.[2]

Returning to California, Milani was appointed professor of History and Political Science as well as chair of the department at Notre Dame de Namur University in Belmont, California. He served as a research fellow at the Institute of International Studies at University of California, Berkeley (UC Berkeley).

Milani became a Hoover Institution research fellow in 2001 and left Notre Dame de Namur for Stanford University in 2002.[2] He is currently the Hamid and Christina Moghadam Director of Iranian Studies at Stanford University.

Political activities[edit]

Milani embraced Marxism–Leninism during his youth and was a member of a Maoist underground cell that was uncovered by Iranian security forces in 1975.[3] He was subsequently jailed at Evin Prison, and became disillusioned with revolutionary politics. His eventual ideology has been described as neoconservative.[4] In July 2009, Milani appeared in a United States House Committee on Foreign Affairs hearing amidst 2009 Iranian presidential election protests, and called for imposing "multilateral and crippling sanctions" on Iranians.[5] He also advised the congressmen not to support military invasion of Iran because it would not politically contribute to the American goal of regime change.[5] Shortly afterwards, Iranian prosecutors in the post-election trials built a case against the defendants by connecting them to Milani, mentioning him by name in the official indictment.[5] Hamid Dabashi criticized Milani for throwing monkey wrenches at Green Movement of Iran by supporting foreign intervention instead of grassroots democracy in Iran.[5]

Personal life[edit]

Milani separated from his first wife, Fereshteh Davaran, in 1988.[6] He lives on Stanford campus with his second wife, Jean Nyland, who is chair of Notre Dame de Namur's psychology department.[2]



  • Malraux and the tragic vision. Agah Press. 1982.
  • On Democracy and Socialism, Pars Press, 1987
  • Tales of Two Cities: A Persian Memoir, Mage Publishers, 1996 (ISBN 0-934211-47-7)
  • Modernity and Its Foes in Iran, Gardon Press, 1998
  • The Persian Sphinx: Amir Abbas Hoveyda and the Riddle of the Iranian Revolution, Mage Publishers , 2000(ISBN 0-934211-61-2)
  • Lost Wisdom: Rethinking Persian Modernity in Iran, Mage Publishers, 2004 (ISBN 0-934211-89-2)
  • Eminent Persians: The Men and Women Who Made Modern Iran, 1941–1979, Syracuse University Press , 2008 (ISBN 978-0-8156-0907-0)
  • The Myth of the Great Satan: A New Look at America's Relations with Iran, Hoover Institution Press, 2010 (978-0-8179-1134-8)
  • The Shah, Palgrave Macmillan, 2011 (ISBN 978-1-4039-7193-7)

Essays and reporting[edit]


  1. ^ Milani, Abbas (2004). Lost Wisdom: Rethinking Modernity in Iran. Mage Publications.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g Harlick, Jeanene (2005-11-11). "SQUARE PEG / Abbas Milani is the only Iran expert and one of very few politically independent scholars at Hoover Institution". SFGate. Retrieved 2019-03-26.
  3. ^ Beard, Michael (1999), "Review: Tales of Two Cities: A Persian Memoir by Abbas Milani", Middle East Journal, 53 (3): 490, JSTOR 4329373
  4. ^ Khosrowjah, Hossein (2011), "A Brief History of Area Studies and International Studies", Arab Studies Quarterly, 33 (3/4): 141, JSTOR 41858661
  5. ^ a b c d Dabashi, Hamid (2011), The Green Movement in Iran, Transaction Publishers, pp. 128–132, 134–136, ISBN 978-1-4128-1841-4
  6. ^ Ratnesar, Romesh (July–August 2010), "The Iranian Optimist", Stanford Magazine

External links[edit]