In 1979, religious dissidents deposed the shah of Iran, casting aside his attempts to Westernize the oil-rich nation. Twenty years later, some scholars say that Iran is once again on the verge of profound change. They point to the election of moderate Mohammad Khatami to the presidency as proof that most Iranians reject the conservatism of the Islamic Republic. But other Iran-watchers say that Khatami has no desire to reverse the changes brought by the 1979 revolution, nor could he. Meanwhile, there is growing disagreement over whether U.S. economic sanctions against Iran bolster Iranian moderates and discourage Iran from supporting terrorism or encourage hard-liners within Iran.