2015 GMT: Rafsanjani Watch. Muhammad Sahimi has provided a translation of former President Hashemi Rafsanjani's interview with Jomhouri Eslami about the nuclear talks. Like others within the regime, Rafsanjani portrays the Obama Administration --- despite its weapon of sanctions --- as dealing from weakness, in this case setbacks in Iraq and Afghanistan. However, his assessment of tactics in last week's Baghdad discussions is a shrewd assessment, rather than a promotion of Islamic Republic triumph or US perfidy:
It appears that they [the P5+1] are united for the negotiations. Even China and Russia have said that Iran must stop uranium enrichment. In the past they never applied such pressure, and this has made the situation somewhat difficult.
After the Istanbul meeting [on 14 April], both Iran and the West made statements that created false optimism. We wanted to create some hope in the country, and the Westerners, due to the economic problems that they have, needed the negotiations. But it became clear in Baghdad that things are not that way. We still do not have complete information, and it is not easy to evaluate and analyze. What is clear is that they have come forward with the weapon of sanctions and say that, using them, we have forced Iran to come to the negotiation table.