Imprisoned by the shah, exiled by revolutionary excesses, Abbas Milani has spent 25 years pushing for democratic change in his home country. What makes him think it can happen now? A few days after Iran’s disputed 2009 presidential election, a prominent Iranian poet fired off a desperate email to Stanford professor Abbas Milani. Iran’s ruling mullahs had declared incumbent President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad the victor, despite overwhelming evidence that opposition candidate Mir-Hossein Mousavi won more votes. Millions of Iranians poured onto the streets of Tehran to protest, the biggest show of discontent since Ayatollah Khomeini seized power three decades ago.