The outcome of talks to discuss the Iranian nuclear crisis on Oct. 1 between representative of the P5+1 and Iran appears to be more positive than had been anticipated. However, the reality is that the basic positions of all sides remain unchanged.
In its previous attempts to solve this slow-burning crisis, the West has repeatedly failed to understand the intentions and strategies of the Iranian government. This has allowed Tehran to buy time for its uranium enrichment program and for the ongoing construction of a heavy-water reactor at Arak.
The West's focus on the enrichment issue has obscured the ways in which this stalemate is tied to broader regional dynamics exploited by the Iranian regime to bolster its position. Specifically, Iranian political rhetoric feeds off the "West versus Islam and Iran" paradigm. Obama has threatened Iran with "increased pressure and isolation" should talks fail, but the current Iranian government -- as opposed to the Iranian people -- does not necessarily fear such a threat.