Elijah Magnier, who has over 35 years of experience as a war correspondent and risk analyst in the Middle East, wrote an op-ed regarding the ongoing nuclear negotiations in restoring the 2015 nuclear deal in Vienna. In his article, published on an Iranian news site, Magnier has shed light upon the details remaining between the lines.
His remarks came following the third round of the negotiations in Vienna was completed, and delegations returned to their capitals. Magnier emphasized that there was optimism within the delegations regarding the ongoing negotiations. In this sense, the Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister and member of the negotiating team, Abbas Araqchi, gave positive signals that the US might lift sanctions on significant fields, including energy, the economic sector, shipping, freedom of transportation, banks, and many Iranian personalities.
Magnier also stated that some discussions were made in Vienna regarding the release of the Iranian frozen assets, that amount to 90 billion in the US and 20 billion in Iraq, South Korea, and China, mostly derived from oil revenues. He also speculated that the prisoner swap was another dimension of the US-Iran talks. Some reports on this issue have circulated in news outlets and were rejected by both sides.
However, maybe the most striking part of Magnier’s piece was the part in which he speculated that Iran insists on lifting sanctions in a specific time frame. Quoting from an Iranian decision-maker, Magnier stated that “the Leader of the Islamic Revolution, Ayatollah Khamenei, will not give an unlimited space of time to negotiate in Vienna. This is the last month before the announcement of the clinical death of the JCPOA agreement if all Iranian conditions are not met.”
Magnier highlighted that Iran insists on sanctions to be lifted without pre-conditions. In this sense, he said that Tehran closed its doors to the US offer for lifting only sanctions related to the nuclear file and revising other sanctions related to Iran’s missile capability.
The senior analyst concluded his article by stressing the importance of this month in terms of reaching an agreement between Washington and Tehran. According to his point of view, Tehran would not step back, and it is the US’ turn to move if the Biden administration would like to revive the nuclear deal.
It is stated that the talks in Vienna will resume next Friday.