1. Hungry Man is Not (Necessarily) a Democracy Fighter
Iran's streets seem to be silence at the moment. Somme people may hope that the sanctions make people loud. I don't. Why? I think it is very simple:
"A hungry man is an angry man", and the angry man follows more his emotions than his sense. If you are angry and you are in a fight, you may do many unwanted, non logical things. Not well enough thought things. It is wrong to think that hungry people on the streets are democracy fighters. Hungry people fight for survival.
Fighting for survival can get very emotional. Fanatic right and leftist groups, both nationalists and communists will use the bad economic situation to get supporters. You don't need to look that far: the election results in Greece and France are talking to us.
2. What Shall We Do, or: "More Important Than Street Protests"
Iran is a country in modernization process, somehow like France after it's industrial revolution: different classes are starting to mix in each other, religion and tradition are losing their colors. Well educated religious people question and challenge religious fundamentalists. In the same time, Islam criticizers can find dialogues with religious people, of course not in public. After the "Green Revolution" it seems that people have learned to trust each other a little bit: The seculars dare now to talk about the history of Islam with their religious co-workers. The religious people, who are well educated are happy about such conversations since they can show their friends that also religious people can talk in an academic level.
Necessary for reaching democracy is a democratic society, where different groups of discourses can tolerate and talk to each other. And it needs training ... "democracy is a process" is not an invented bullshit; it's the bitter truth I had to accept after reading the history.
And now we can answer the question: "How can we help the democratization of Iran"?
1. Try to help people to talk to each other. Find similar groups of interest and introduce them to each other. Make them strong. Now you are a NGO.
2. Don't try to tell them what is good for them, if you haven't see their lives and you haven't live with them. It is their duty to find out their way in their society.
3. Talk to Iranians about your weekday. If possible, go to Iran. Tell them about your lifestyle and culture. You will probably join your trip, too.
Now you have helped small groups to grow up and get larger. You have strengthened social networks. People will talk for themselves, politicians need to follow theses groups to get supported. And this is how democracy works.