VIENNA/PARIS－European nations on Thursday dropped a planned resolution at the UN nuclear watchdog criticizing Iran, in a bid to hasten the revival of a 2015 nuclear deal that was praised both by Teheran and Washington.
France, the United Kingdom and Germany－known as the E3－had planned to introduce a resolution at this week's meeting of the International Atomic Energy Agency's board of governors, with the support of the United States, denouncing Iran's suspension of some IAEA inspections.
"We have decided to not present the resolution," the German Foreign Ministry said in a statement. "Iran must now prove that it is serious in its wish to fully relaunch the nuclear deal."
One diplomat pointed to initiatives undertaken by IAEA Director General Rafael Grossi and signs of "good faith" on the Iranian side to explain the decision to drop the resolution, which had not been formally submitted.
Grossi announced earlier on Thursday Iran had agreed to hold a series of meetings with the UN nuclear watchdog to "clarify a number of outstanding issues".
US President Joe Biden has said he is willing to bring the United States back to the landmark deal, known as the JCPOA.
It has been unraveling since Donald Trump pulled the US out of the agreement in 2018.
A French diplomat said: "Things are moving in the right direction and we have had positive signals this week and especially in last few days."
The diplomat said it was hoped a meeting proposed by the EU of the remaining 2015 participants－Iran, France, Germany, Russia, China and the UK－could take place within two weeks, with Brussels the likely venue.
Space made for talks
Iran welcomed the European decision not to go ahead with a resolution.
"Today's developments can keep open the path of diplomacy initiated by Iran and the IAEA," Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh said.
"Iran hopes the parties participating in the agreement can seize this opportunity, with serious cooperation, to ensure the full implementation of the agreement by all," he added.
Iran has previously said the time was not suitable for a proposed European-led meeting of all parties including the US, calling instead for Biden first to lift sanctions imposed by Trump.
In Washington, State Department spokesman Ned Price said the US was "pleased" with the European move in Vienna and remained ready for dialogue.
"We will look forward with strong interest for Iran's willingness to engage in a way that leads to credible, concrete progress," Price told reporters.