As Iran starts a critical round of talks over its nuclear program , its negotiating team may be less interested in reaching a comprehensive settlement than in buying time and establishing the legitimacy of its enrichment program, Iranian officials and analysts said.
That is because though Iran finds itself under increased financial pressure from tightening sanctions, officials here argue that their fundamental approach has essentially worked. In continually pushing forward the nuclear activities — increasing enrichment and building a bunker mountain enrichment facility — Iran has in effect forced the West to accept a program it insists is for peaceful purposes. Iranians say their carefully crafted policy has helped move the goal posts in their favor by making enrichment a reality that the West has been unable to stop — and may now be willing, however grudgingly, to accept.
“Without violating any international laws or the nonproliferation treaty, we have managed to bypass the red lines the West created for us,” said Hamidreza Taraghi, an adviser to Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who is close to the negotiating team.