Robin Wright is author of The Last Great Revolution: Turmoil and Transformation in Iran.

Although the Iranian revolution is now 20 years old, it is still deeply misunderstood in the West. The overthrow of the Shah and the subsequent theocracy were always complex events. And the social and political evolution of Iran has added to that complexity. Now, as Iran seems to be moving into a new reformist phase, it is more important than ever to grasp the forces at work. Robin Wright explains the promise of a revolution she compares to the French and Russian revolutions.