On Monday, the word was that the West's negotiations with Iran weren't going well: "The mood of the talks has gone from optimistic weeks ago, as Iran made concessions on items such as the future of its Arak nuclear reactor, to pessimistic in recent days as it becomes clear a giant gap remains on the crucial question of how much capacity Iran will retain to enrich uranium for what it insists is a peaceful nuclear program." Yet as the deadline approached, President Obama and his team have decided things are going well enough to extend the deadline . . If you're always willing to extend the deadline, then it's not really a deadline, is it? On paper, we're watching negotiations between two parties with diametrically opposed interests -- we want the Iranians to have as little of a nuclear program as possible; they want one as big (and easily switched to military applications) as possible. But in practice, we've got two parties with the same interest: the Obama administration wants negotiations to continue so they can claim their approach is working, and the Iranians want negotiations to continue so that their program keeps advancing and those centrifuges keep spinning. So both sides want the talks to go on indefinitely. At this point, we're negotiating about the conditions for continuing negotiations. What would it take for President Obama, John Kerry, and the rest of his administration to conclude the Iranian guys aren't serious about a deal, they're stalling for time, and the U.S. is playing into their hands by continuing negotiations? It seems that as long as the Iranians don't reach across the table and behead the other negotiators, Obama and Kerry are willing to give them the benefit of the doubt.