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Ali Reza Khamesian, an analyst in Tehran, believes the lack of any outcome from the Moscow talks has convinced Iranian leaders that “the West is trying to pin Iran in the corner of the ring in heavy fighting.” Khamesian says that Iran sees the talks as “fruitless” but will continue them to lessen “threats.”

Iran’s arch-foe Israel says Iran is stretching out the talks to move closer to the ability to make weapons, and it has threatened to attack the Islamic Republic as a last resort. Israel may argue that the negotiations are turning into “talks about talks” — something the U.S. and its allies have vowed they will not tolerate.

Earlier this month Khamenei warned any Israeli attack would be answered with a “lightning” response by the Islamic Republic and suggested Iran’s nuclear program cannot be curtailed by Western sanctions.

Associated Press writer Pablo Gorondi in Budapest contributed to this story.