We now finally have an agreement with Iran that should either prevent that country from building nuclear weapons for decades or allow it to build such weapons and destroy Israel. The vision that we hear depends on whether it is a Republican or a Democrat who is predicting the future. Personally, I am embarrassed that most of our politicians seem to be more interested in pushing the view that will help their party win the next election rather than what is best for the country and the world. But the real question we have to ask is: Is this a good deal or not?

It is not easy for us, average citizens, to determine the value of this agreement on our own, but we should make an effort to understand the details as much as possible. It is also important for us to look at the alternatives to a diplomatic solution. Our partners in this agreement are becoming weary of the ongoing sanctions on Iran, especially if we unilaterally veto the agreement that has been reached. The other alternatives are to do nothing and let Iran build nuclear weapons, or use military force.

The Republicans put all of their efforts into attacking the agreement, but what are their alternatives? In Iraq, the decision was war — one that led to the deaths of 4,500 Americans and more than 100,000 Iraqis, that has destabilized the region, that helped give birth to the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, and that probably encouraged Iran to develop a nuclear arsenal.

There are times when war is necessary, but this is not that time. Let's see what we can achieve with diplomacy and peace.

Jim Weygand, Carver

• • •

Just as the centrifuges in Iran are allowed to keep spinning by the "deal" made by President Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry, the Obama political machine is cuing its spinmeisters to start spinning the deal.

The front page of the July 15 issue of the Star Tribune contained an article written by two reporters from the Associated Press. That news report stated, in part: "In a key compromise, Iran agreed to continuation of the United Nations' arms embargo on the country for up to five more years and ballistic missile restrictions for up to eight years."

That sentence was written so as to convey the impression that Iran had substantially compromised its interests in an effort to obtain a deal. Contrast that reporting with a column written by Michael Gerson of the Washington Post and appearing on the Opinion Exchange page of the same issue. Gerson's article contains the following statement: "The reported agreement to partly lift the arms embargo against Iran — a dramatic concession — must seem to America's Sunni allies and partners like a de facto U.S. recognition of Iranian spheres of military influence across the region. Because it is."

Associated Press reporters are spinning a dramatic concession made by the Obama/Kerry team as a key compromise on the part of Iran. Let's get the truth of this deal out in the open. It's important.

Ronald B. Stolpman, Lakeville

• • •

When those who have consistently and publicly screamed "Death to America!" — Iranians — celebrate in the streets over the supposed "deal," we can know that our president has sold us out. It is called treason. Wake up, Congress, and throw out this anti-American, anti-freedom "deal" that gives our enemies unprecedented power.

Barb Schneider, Bloomington

• • •

The Iran nuclear deal is just that. It is not and should not be judged as an agreement covering the gamut of everything that anybody objects to about Iran's behavior. There are, after all, a lot of things to object to. The international will to do such a deal does not exist. It is remarkable that things have held together this long. The other disgusting (to us) aspects of Iran's and its allies' behaviors must be addressed in other forums and they can be once this hurdle is crossed.

Will Republicans let the world move forward, or will they pout and whine until Israel does something else that the world will regret — something even more arrogant than stealing the Palestinians' hopes of a state by building illegal and immoral settlements?

Chuck Reed, Rawlins, Wyo.

• • •

Israel, stop trying to bully the U.S. into scuttling the historic agreement on limiting Iran's ability to develop a nuclear weapon, as reached by the many nations involved. Over the past decade, you've shown the world a continual disregard for diplomacy to bring peace to the Middle East by always relying on the U.S. to back you up in all disagreements with your neighbors. Though you continue to deny it, it is common knowledge that you yourself have developed a nuclear weapons capability that could be immediately unleashed upon your enemies. But, most of all, you have inserted yourself into our democratic system of government. On Wednesday, your prime minister was interviewed on public radio, and in response to a question about what his next move was, he stated (and I paraphrase): "The U.S. Congress will overcome President's Obama's likely veto of any anticipated disapproval in the above agreement."

Please, Israel, stop acting like a playground bully, grow up and join in the community of nations. As was stated more than 2,000 years ago by the Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu in his book "Tao Te Ching": "[I]f a great country" — for instance, the U.S. — "can lower itself before a small country" — for instance, Iran — "it will win over the small country; and if a small country can lower itself before a great country, it will win over the great country. The one wins by stooping; the other, by remaining low."

Nick Rowse, Burnsville

Survey critic appears to make assumptions about blacks

A July 14 letter writer ("Trust in local cops? Probably depends on who's been asked") blindly perpetuates racism, in my opinion. He suggests that the July 13 "Short Takes" item was based on a flawed survey. The question about faith in the police supposedly was asked of suburbanites, Republicans, Democrats, women, men and "Minnesotans as a whole." The letter writer says he didn't see any reference to a sample taken from the black community. Supposedly these characteristics apply only to the "affluent and white community."

Hmm. Is he implying that the black community does not include suburbanites, Republicans, Democrats, men, women and Minnesotans? What a mockery. What an insult to those blacks who dwell in the suburbs, belong to either political party and are "Minnesotans."

Here is a survey that has no mention of race in it, and the letter writer thinks it is inaccurate. I would remind him of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.'s "dream" that one day "my four children will live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character." Let us strive toward that dream, Minnesotans.

John George, Northfield

Define 'astronomical'

The Pluto mission cost less than the Vikings stadium.

Chris Steller, Minneapolis