Abbas Milani

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Abbas Malekzadeh Milani
Milani Abbas cropped.jpg
Milani in an interview with Parazit (VOA-PNN)
Born1949 (age 69–70)
NationalityIranian American
Alma materUniversity of California, Berkeley
University of Hawaii
Scientific career
FieldsPolitical science and Iranian studies
InstitutionsUniversity of Tehran
National University of Iran
University of California, Berkeley
Notre Dame de Namur University
Stanford University

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 1000 years ago.[1]


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[3] 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] With his son Hamid and his wife Fereshteh, he left Iran in 1986 during the time of the Iran-Iraq war for the United States.[2]

According to Wikileaks documents, Abbas Milani was arrested and later pardoned on Shah's Birthday;[4] however, Abbas Milani's wife was never arrested as it is indicated in the cable from the embassy.[5]

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. He lives on campus with his second wife, Jean Nyland, who is chair of Notre Dame de Namur's psychology department.[2]


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

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