Your humble correspondent never worked for the State Department or the U.N., so I don’t understand the subtleties and complexities of international diplomacy. But I do recognize a stalling tactic when I see one, and for almost a year, we’ve been highlighting Iran’s manipulation of diplomatic talks aimed at reigning in its nuclear program. With a nod to Muhammad Ali, we’ve described this process as a “nuclear rope-a-dope,” with Tehran doing all it can to keep the talks going, while failing to work toward a diplomatic settlement.

Now, even the EU seems to understand that they’re being hoodwinked by Iran. A document drawn up by the goverments of Britian, France and Germany (the so-called EU-3 that initiated talks with Tehran more than a year ago), warns that Iran is deliberately trying to weaken opposition to its nuclear program through diplomatic stalling, and refusing to meet international demands. Imagine that.

The question, of course, is what does the EU do, now that they’re on to Iran’s game (as if they weren’t aware of the rope-a-dope strategy months ago). Why, keep talking of course. Representatives of the EU-3 are supposed to meet in Berlin this weekend, to discuss “strategy” in light of Iran’s continued stalling.

Meanwhile, Adolph Jr., (oops, Iranian President Ahmadinejad) has been dangling another carrot in front of the Europeans’ noses, noting the important role of the EU in world affairs. Tehran, which has been playing Europe like a fiddle for some time, understands that an occasional platitude is necessary to keep the diplomatic wheelings turning. And, as we’ve noted before, the process is the most important thing for the diplomatic set, since it forestalls tough decisions on critical issues–like the Iranian nuclear program.

Lest we forget, the Bush Administation has been a stalwart supporter of this diplomatic process. Someone ought to ask Condi Rice what she thinks of the “process” and its complete failure in deterring Iran’s nuclear ambitions. Then, they ought to ask when the U.S. is going to adopt a more realistic approach toward this crisis.