For months, we've been pointing out the obvious: namely, that Iran is playing a game of nuclear rope-a-dope with the EU-3, who have tried to persuade Tehran to give up its nuclear weapons program. Meanwhile, the Europeans kept talking, hoping that they could reach some sort of deal that would avert a nuclear crisis.
Now, Iran's former chief negotiator with the Europeans has admitted that the talks were esentially a ruse, designed to buy time while Tehran completed work on some of its nuclear facilities. This should be a surprise to no one, except members of the striped-pants set in Britain, France and Germany, who spent months negotiating with the Iranians.
To its credit, the U.S. has maintained a more realistic stance on Iran, refusing to trust the mullahs on the nuclear issue. However, the U.S. position is not without fault; at last report, the White House and Foggy Bottom were still supporting Russian efforts to persuade Iran to agree to the "outsourcing" of uranium enrichment. Under that plan, Iranian enrichment efforts would be conduced at a Russian facility. Unfortunately, that option does nothing to stop covert enrichment efforts inside Iran, or Tehran's effort to build a plutonium-based bomb, through its heavy water facility at Khondab.
Meanwhile, the Europeans would gladly resume talks in Iran (if so invited), and remain squeamish on the issue of sanctions. It would be easy to dismiss the EU-3 position as naive or stupid, but that would be inaccurate. In reality, the nuclear game with Tehran is little more than an extension of the "diplomacy at all costs" approach that was so evident before the invasion of Iraq in 2003. With the exception of Britain, the Europeans have absolutely no stomach for taking on Iran, and if a military solution becomes necessary, well that's a job for the Americans, Brits or Israelis. That, in turn, gives the Euros and their U.N. buddies free regin to criticize Anglo-American or Israeli "aggression," while privately protecting their interests in Iran.
The Iranians may be bragging about their European "con" job, but trust me, some of the Euros were willing accomplices.