President Barack Obama noted in an interview with CNN that Iranian hard-liners are making “common cause” with Republican lawmakers in opposing the nuclear deal with Iran. The reality is that extremists both in Iran and the United States, who oppose the deal, believe their side is getting the deal’s bad end. Each supposes the agreement favors the other side.

In Iran, the Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the powerful supreme leader chosen by the Assembly of Experts, appears critical of the deal. In the United States, extremists among both Republicans and Democrats oppose it.

In both countries those who are against the deal take on a self-righteous stand. Republican presidential candidate, Carly Fiorina, said “Iran is at the heart of evil in the Middle East.”

We often heard “Death to America,” from Iran’s former president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad because the United States defends Israel. Israel, which has a nuclear arsenal, is our strongest ally in the Middle East. In 2012, Ahmadinejad said “the very existence of the Zionist [nationalist state] regime is an insult to humanity” and “the Zionist regime and the Zionists are a cancerous tumor.”

Such inflammatory rhetoric on either side in inexcusable.

However, Akbar Rafsanjani replaced Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as Iran’s president in Iran’s 2013 presidential election. Rafsanjani is a more judicious and pragmatic politician than his predecessor. He realized the 2005 collapse of negotiations between Iran and United States on a nuclear deal led to escalating confrontation between the two nations, so he renewed negotiations with the United States after his election.

By late November, the stage was set for a new nuclear deal that would reduce sanctions. In July, after 18 months of negotiations with the United States, Britain, China, France, Germany and Russia, a deal — a reasonable compromise — was reached.

Iran’s foreign minister, Mohammed Zarif, explained regarding the new accord, Iran’s atomic energy program “is exclusively peaceful, has always been and always will remain exclusively peaceful” for civilian purposes only. I want to believe him.

To begin to develop a trusting relationship with anyone can be a difficult task. Our history toward Iran since the early 1950s has made negotiations even more difficult. In 1953, the United States and United Kingdom organized a coup to overthrow the democratically oriented Prime Minister Mohamed Mosaddegh because he wanted to nationalize Iran’s oil industry.

In his place, we helped to bring to power Shah Reza Pahlavi, a corrupt dictator our government supported. In 1979, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini overthrew the Shah and his government. In its place, Khomeini established Iran’s Islamic Republic; we gave refuge to the fleeing Pahlavi.

That Akbar Rafsanjani, a member of the 1979 Revolution that made Iran into a Muslim state, is now president may seem discouraging to some. However, he has foresight, strong intention and a good relationship with Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. This relationship may be the determining factor for Iran to sign the nuclear deal.

Secretary of State John Kerry is justified in saying, “The test is whether or not it [the deal] will leave the world safer or more secure than it would be without this agreement. And there can be no question that the comprehensive deal that is moving forward will more than pass this test.”

President Obama spoke passionately: “The choice we face is ultimately between diplomacy and some sort of war. … How can we in good conscience justify war before we’ve tested a diplomatic agreement that achieves our objectives?”

In 1919, President Woodrow Wilson pleaded with the American Congress to join the League of Nations as part of the Treaty of Versailles to prevent another world war. He said, “I can predict with absolute certainty that within another generation there will be another world war if the nations of the world do not concert the method by which to prevent it.”

Congress rejected his proposal. Wilson was right.

I appeal to the state’s representatives in Congress, Chellie Pingree, D-1st District, and Bruce Poliquin, R-2nd District, as well as Republican Sen. Susan Collins and Independent Sen. Angus King to take the bold stand of courage and compromise to support the Iran nuclear deal proposed by Kerry and President Obama. Compromise is a principle our forefathers dearly held.

David O. Solmitz, retired educator, author and artist lives in Waterville.

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