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Iran nuclear talks limp forward
A lengthy meeting in Turkey between Iran and the European Union on Tuesday failed to result in any tangible progress except an agreement to hold a follow-up meeting at experts level.
In the present context of rising tensions between Iran and Israel, this agreement to meet again reflects European wariness of Middle East tensions impacting on their troubled economies.
The meeting in Istanbul, between Helga Schmidt, deputy to Catherine Ashton, the European Union's High Representative and Ali Bagheri, deputy head of Iran's Supreme National Security Council, was scheduled at the previous multilateral meeting in Moscow.
That confab was likely the last high-level meeting that will be held on the Iran nuclear issue until the US presidential elections are concluded in November. Whether Barack Obama is returned as president or Mitt Romney replaces him, either will likely be able to steer Iran policy with greater authority than is the case today.
Whatever the political calculations in the US, the Europeans have their own concerns. France this week announced some 8,000 job cuts, and Iranian officials say the carmaker is facing problems due to its refusal to sell spare parts to Iran in line with Western-led sanctions.
Iranian Ministry of Industries, Mines and Commerce Mohsen Salehi told Iranian media on Sunday, "it seems that that the sanctions on Iran have had a debilitating effect on the company in recent months".
Europe is also feeling increasingly nervous over energy security, an issue that has become somewhat more pronounced as a result of the oil sanctions on Iran, though these are less rather severe due to the extensive exemptions that will last for until early 2013.
The threat of rising tensions in the Persian Gulf also isn't likely far from the minds of European policy-makers, giving them all the more reason to be increasingly concerned about avoiding a total breakdown in Iran nuclear talks, irrespective of new Israeli allegations of Iran-Hezbollah involvement in last week's deadly bombing of a buses carrying Israeli tourists in Bulgaria, which claimed the lives of five Israeli tourists and a Bulgarian bus driver.
Signs of a false-flag operation
Slowly but surely, evidence is emerging that suggests this attack was a sophisticated Israeli false-flag operation. This includes a new amateur video that corroborates this author's theory that the targeted bus was empty and only the passengers in the adjacent bus were impacted. 
As this author asked in Al-Qaeda emerges as bus bomb suspect[Asia Times Online, Jul 24, '12], how could so many bus passengers escape with only cosmetic hand and leg injuries, without severe facial and head burns? What about the second bus driver and guides from the Israeli travel operator company, who per a report in Israel, had received an earlier warning that the arriving Israelis would be "greeted by two bombs"?
These, together with the ferocity of Israeli leaders' accusation of Iran and Hezbollah, the curious timing coincidence with the 18th anniversary of the Argentine bombing, adds credibility to growing speculation that this was yet another Israeli "false flag" operation, aimed at gaining the upper hands in the battle for world public opinion.
The "false flag" theory must be studied in tandem with the other scenarios.
Question are also raised by the science behind the bomb's impact. Given the destructive velocity of three kilograms of TNT explosive in a confined environment,  the large number of lightly-affected passengers raises doubts over the official story about the Burgas bomb attack. This issue that has yet to be tackled by the international media, which has adopted as an article of faith the story that a bus "crowded with Israelis" was blown up.
One cannot expect the Bulgarian government to come forward with damning evidence that would point the finger at the Israelis, who crowd Bulgaria's beach-side hotels and contribute a huge sum to the troubled and corrupt Bulgarian economy. US President Barack Obama has leaned on Sofia as well, sending a discrete message praising their "reliability".
Yet, the Europeans appear unwilling to become full participants in this new game, in light of the EU's rejection of Israel's demand to add Hezbollah to its terror list, citing the absence of "tangible evidence." That is a clear affront to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's claims about "rock solid" evidence of Iran and Hezbollah's guilt.
Considering the negative publicity campaign launched by Israel and the US following the Burgas bomb attack, it is significant that European are still seeking further engagement on the Iran nuclear issue. This reflects European concerns about the intermediate and long-term effect of Iran sanctions, as well as spillover of other Middle East conflicts, above all from Syria. As such tensions grow, Europe may be forced to awaken from its slumber of following the US and Israel's lead on Iran.