The recent round of nuclear negotiations between Iran and the P5+1 in Istanbul, Baghdad and Moscow has attracted the attention of Iran–watchers with a colorful set of expectations, predictions, hopes and frustrations. How can we analyze this perplexing situation? "Players", "perceptions" and "politics" are suitable conceptual frames through which the dynamics of the new round of talks may be understood.

There are many players in the nuclear negotiations: the five permanent members of the UN Security Council and Germany, which desire to be like the other five, are players of multiple complexity. Undoubtedly, the U.S. is the most important player among these states. However, even though America is represented as a single entity in these negotiations, it is far more complicated than the rest. The American position in these talks is determined by many players in Washington, Tel Aviv and some Arab capitals where a collision course between Iran and the U.S. is not just a wish, but the dominant strategic thinking and planning.

The perceptional settings of the players are very complicated. The P5+1, or as the Europeans like to call it, 3+3, still has not demonstrated a clear and authentic perception of what Iran is and what Iran is for. Perceptions evolve, change and sometimes distance themselves from reality. At the core of the American perception of Iran lies an alarmistic and threatful lens that imprisons the U.S. in a dark and murky picture of the Middle East.

But more importantly, politics and especially domestic politics in the United States in an election year draws the faultiness of negotiation politics. The American president looks through the prism of re-election when he chooses his words and takes his decisions. In the ruthless campaign ahead of him, President Obama needs to portray himself as a strong decision-maker and successful leader. For him, the proper decision in the nuclear negotiations is to accept Iran's nuclear rights. But can he make such a decision?