I like it when an author takes a broad, difficult subject and 1.) gives a good generalization, with some proof 2.)penetrates very deep into a very few specific examples. Adelkhah does that quite well.
First, he touches on the broad view of an emerging civil culture in Iran, without which Iran cannot become a "modern" republic and certainly not a democratic one. He tells of the amazing changes to the city of Teheran as mayor Kharabashi challenged everyone to bring their (formerly private and exclusive) gardens out to the front of the street. If you have toured the traditional Middle East, you will have doubtless noticed that houses are built much like fortresses in the city-- emblematic of a culture that displays a seemingly congenital xenophobia.
He also traces the origins of the sports craze in Iran, and the explosion of public parks and spaces. One cannot walk away from the book without a genuine sense that the Islamic Republic of Iran is actually undergoing tectonic changes from within that threaten to cast aside the clerical domination of the country in favor of something entirely new to the world: a Muslim democracy, whatever that turns out to be.