With the reaching of a (tentative) deal with Iran, the United States has, in just the last few weeks, been rather suddenly thrust into a critical juncture of foreign policy, and indeed of world peace. This because in the coming weeks the United States will, presumably, decide whether it wants to be a country that makes some sort of attempt to get along with its neighbors on this small, delicate planet, or whether it is going to be a fundamentally arrogant and aggressive nation.

We are at a crossroads. This is a key, defining moment for this country and its foreign policy such as we have not had since our disastrous 2003 attack on Iraq.

Are we going to live in a George Mitchell world, where diplomacy is at least a viable option, or an angry John Boehner world, in which the whole world, save Israel, is our enemy?

Are we going to sign what is in effect a peace treaty with a proud country and a proud people whose societal history goes back 5,000 years and who have already suffered greatly at our hand? Or are we going to have a foreign policy dictated by a small country that has managed to win the enmity of almost all its neighbors and is run by a bellicose blowhard who barely survived his last election on a minority vote?

It's up to you. According to Code Pink, constituent communications to some members of Congress are running 10 to one against the Iran deal, which must pass congressional muster.

Viewed objectively, we're lucky to get any kind of deal at all, as this deal — or any deal that would have a prayer of passing Congress — is based on the unspoken premise that the United States has the right to have thousands of nuclear weapons, and Israel has the right to have nuclear weapons, but Iran has no right to have any nuclear weapons to protect itself from, well, the United States and Israel.

Scratch the surface of that unspoken premise and you find another unspoken premise: that we are allowed nukes because we are a mature, responsible nation, and Iran is allowed no nukes because it is an irresponsible, aggressive rogue state.

But do these assumptions hold up to scrutiny? Who is the real threat here, the true aggressor, the real rogue state?

Israel was founded in 1948. Like the United States, Israel was founded on stolen land, and since its founding, Israel has stolen the Golan Heights from Syria and twice invaded Lebanon. In just the last seven years it has twice unleashed savage attacks on the Gaza Strip, and to this very day it continues to build illegal West Bank “settlements” in clear violation of its internationally and UN-recognized borders. Unlike Iran, Israel actually has nuclear weapons, and unlike Iran, Israel refuses to sign the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty.

In the same 67 years since the founding of Israel, the United States has directly attacked Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Panama, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia, Libya, Nicaragua and Grenada, and has overthrown, or helped overthrow, democratically elected governments in Guatemala, the Dominican Republic, Chile and Brazil. These lists are conservative and don't include many countries where brutal military dictatorships were “merely” supported — but not actually installed — by the United States.

And in those same 67 years, Iran has attacked exactly one entity: the self-proclaimed Islamic State. But where Iran has fallen short in aggression, it has more than made up for as victim of aggression. In 1953, Iran's democratically elected government was overthrown in a U.S.-supported coup that ushered in 27 years of brutal military dictatorship that was armed to the teeth by the United States.

Some 200,000 of Iran's people were killed in the Iran-Iraq war (1980-1988), a war started by Iraq, with U.S. support. In that war Iraq attacked Iran with chemical weapons supplied by the United States.

In 1988, 290 passengers on an Iranian airliner were killed in Iranian air space by a missile fired from the U.S. warship USS Vincennes.

So who is the aggressor, the rogue state here? The record speaks for itself.

The Iran deal has strict, rigorous inspection and verification regimens, and can be abrogated at any time. The only reason not to accept the deal is to kowtow to Israel's desire to keep Iran on its knees and maintain its regional hegemony.

But there are good reasons to approve the deal. Iran's 78 million citizens would see at least some relief from devastating sanctions that have crippled their country. Their currency has lost fully two-thirds of its value against the dollar in the last four years alone. This has grossly inflated the cost of what imports are still allowed under the sanctions, which has sent food prices skyrocketing; and severe import restrictions have had a devastating effect on the healthcare sector.

As is often the case with sanctions and other forms of foreign aggression, the Iran sanctions have not weakened the internal hand or the popularity of the country's ruling government. On the contrary, they have rallied public support for the government and have provided the government with a blanket excuse for its shortcomings. Lifting sanctions would be a major boon to Iranians pushing for secular democracy in their country.

All told, the deal is a win for all parties save the hawks in the United States and Israel who are hellbent on complete Middle East domination and will never be satisfied, and as such the deal should be vigorously supported and defended by Mainers and Maine's congressional delegation.

Lawrence Reichard is a nonprofit administrator and freelance writer who lives in Belfast.