Diplomats from both sides claim that they have gone out of the way to accommodate the other in the interest of successful talks. But they also claim that they have "got nothing but some vague replies" (says the Iranian diplomat) or come up against "obfuscation" and "increasing negativity" (says a European diplomat in Brussels familiar with the talks).
In the past week there have been two direct calls between Bagheri and Schmid, notes the European diplomat. Since late May, five letters have been exchanged and "we have offered for at least a week a direct call between Ashton and Jalili, which they dragged their feet on."
Says the European diplomat: "Every effort has been aimed at ensuring that we reach out ... that we offer calls at a high level, that we communicate in every which way we can, [so] it is absurd to somehow shift the blame for an outcome in Moscow on a supposed unwillingness on our part [to engage]."
Iranian officials, in their turn, argue that it is they who are reaching out.
The Iranians "want ... to show that they are the ones who are interested in cooperating, and I believe highlighting the telephone conversations and sending letter after letter is just proof that they want to show the world that they are keen on talking and the P5+1 is the one refraining," says the Iranian diplomat.
"When Bagheri wrote in his letter that if they are not getting ready for the Moscow talks they should expect failure, [this] was paving the way ... to say to the world that we did send them the message and they ... ignored it," says the Iranian diplomat.