Europeans set low expectations for Iran talks
Historic negotiations set for Oct. 1 will showcase an emboldeneded Tehran angling to buy more time to develop its nuclear capabilities, European analysts say.
The terms offered by Iran for negotiations with the US and other powers now scheduled to take place in Istanbul this October are seen by some in Europe as a bid by Tehran to buy time for its nuclear program – and an expression of growing Iranian confidence.Skip to next paragraph
Subscribe Today to the Monitor
While Europeans give points to the Obama administration for a tactical approach to Iran that they say makes sense – "you want to say you've tried everything before turning the screws," is how Bruno Tertrais of the Foundation for Strategic Research in Paris puts it – the consensus here is that Washington lacks a clear strategy on Iran.
Talks in Turkey?
Tehran's diplomatic letter last week stating a willingness to talk made no mention of its nuclear program, though Tehran has subsequently stated that it did not consider the subject forbidden. Washington officials have said bluntly that Iran's centrifuge program is in the its final stages, and that the US would raise the nuclear issue in any forthcoming talks.
By accepting talks without a commitment to deal with the core issues, Iran is under no obligation to turn its efforts to satisfy them, European specialists say.
"The headline in Tehran is that 'Iran won,'" argues Mamoun Fandy of the International Institute for Strategic Studies in London. "They see themselves talking from a position of strength not weakness."