The European approach fails again. ThE man who for two years led Iran's nuclear negotiations has laid out in unprecedented detail how the regime took advantage of talks with Britain, France and Germany to forge ahead with its secret atomic program. In a speech to a closed meeting of leading Islamic clerics and academics, Hassan Rowhani, who headed talks with the so-called EU3 until last year, revealed how Tehran played for time and tried to dupe the West after its secret nuclear program was uncovered by the Iranian opposition in 2002. He boasted that while talks were taking place in Tehran, Iran was able to complete the installation of equipment for conversion of yellowcake - a key stage in the nuclear fuel process - at its Isfahan plant while convincing European diplomats that nothing was afoot. "From the outset, the Americans kept telling the Europeans, 'The Iranians are lying and deceiving you and they have not told you everything'. The Europeans used to respond, 'We trust them'," he said. Revelation of Mr Rowhani's remarks comes at an awkward moment for the Iranian Government, before a meeting today of the United Nations atomic watchdog, which must make a fresh assessment of Iran's banned nuclear operations. The International Atomic Energy Agency's judgement is the final step before the case is passed to the UN Security Council, where sanctions may be considered. In his address to the Supreme Council of Cultural Revolution, Mr Rowhani appears to have been seeking to rebut criticism from hardliners that he gave too much ground in talks with the Europeans. The contents of the speech were published in a regime journal that circulates among the ruling elite. He told his audience: "When we were negotiating with the Europeans in Tehran we were still installing some of the equipment at the Isfahan site â¦ In reality, by creating a tame situation, we could finish Isfahan." America and its European allies believe that Iran is clandestinely developing an atomic bomb, but Tehran insists it is merely seeking nuclear energy for peaceful purposes. Iran's negotiating team engaged in a last-ditch attempt last week to head off Security Council involvement. In January the regime removed atomic energy agency seals on sensitive nuclear equipment and last month it resumed banned uranium enrichment. Iran is trying to win support from Russia, which opposes UN sanctions, having tried unsuccessfully to persuade European Union leaders to allow it more time. Against this backdrop, Mr Rowhani's surprisingly candid comments on Iran's record of obfuscation and delay are illuminating. In a separate development, the opposition National Council of Resistance of Iran has obtained a copy of a confidential parliamentary report making it clear that Iranian MPs were also kept in the dark on the nuclear program, which was funded secretly, outside the normal budgetary process.