Sign up for our daily briefing

Make your busy days simpler with Axios AM/PM. Catch up on what's new and why it matters in just 5 minutes.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on the day's biggest business stories

Subscribe to Axios Closer for insights into the day’s business news and trends and why they matter

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Stay on top of the latest market trends

Subscribe to Axios Markets for the latest market trends and economic insights. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Sports news worthy of your time

Binge on the stats and stories that drive the sports world with Axios Sports. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Tech news worthy of your time

Get our smart take on technology from the Valley and D.C. with Axios Login. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Get the inside stories

Get an insider's guide to the new White House with Axios Sneak Peek. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Denver news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Denver

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Des Moines news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Des Moines

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Twin Cities news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Twin Cities

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Tampa Bay news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Tampa Bay

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Charlotte news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Charlotte

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

IAEA Director General Rafael Grossi at Thursday's meeting. Photo: Alex Halada/AFP via Getty

France, Germany and the U.K. have backed off a plan to censure Iran for its lack of cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) at the UN nuclear watchdog's quarterly meeting in Vienna, European diplomats tell me.

Why it matters: The U.S. and the three European signatories of the Iran nuclear deal (known as the E3) are attempting to revive diplomacy with Tehran, while also responding to Iran's continual breaches of the deal. But after the plan to censure Iran emerged, Iran reacted angrily and rejected a proposal for nuclear talks.

Behind the scenes: Over the last 24 hours, the U.S. and the E3 held consultations about what to do about the resolution, which would have criticized Iran for curtailing the access of UN inspectors to several nuclear sites and failing to provide answers to the IAEA about uranium particles found at two undeclared sites.

The backstory: Iran had threatened to curtail inspections more drastically before reaching a deal with the IAEA last month to allow inspectors to continue the bulk of their work for another three months. The Iranians threatened to cancel that agreement if the Europeans moved ahead with their resolution.

  • The U.S. favored holding off on the resolution, European diplomats say.
  • Between the lines: With that position, the Biden administration signaled that it wants to keep the window open for diplomacy.

What they're saying: Iran’s foreign ministry spokesman welcomed the decision, which it said would help prepare the ground for a return of all the parties to full implementation of the 2015 deal, which Donald Trump withdrew from in 2018.

  • The U.S. representative to the IAEA said in a statement that “Iran has now been given another opportunity to offer up the necessary cooperation” before the IAEA board meets again in three months.
  • “The United States will calibrate our views on the Board’s next steps according to whether Iran seizes the opportunity now before it to finally and credibly address the IAEA’s concerns," the U.S. diplomat said.

The big picture: The Biden administration's stated plan is to return to the 2015 deal by lifting sanctions if Iran returns to compliance with its nuclear restrictions. But the sides are at odds over how to sequence those steps, and senior U.S. officials continue to caution that any agreement is a long way off.

What's next: Two hours after France, Germany and the U.K. announced they were backing off the resolution, IAEA Director General Rafael Grossi held a press conference and announced that Iran had agreed for the first time to discuss the suspicious uranium particles with the IAEA.

  • Talks between Iran and IAEA will be held early April.
  • The key question is whether Iran will agree to the U.S. proposal for informal talks among the deal's signatories.

Go deeper

Mar 3, 2021 - World

U.S.-Iran nuclear diplomacy is going nowhere fast

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Iran's cool response to the Biden administration's push for diplomatic engagement, along with rising tensions in the region, makes clear that salvaging the 2015 nuclear deal may be far more difficult than many had anticipated.

The state of play: Both the U.S. and Iran have entered the diplomatic dance, but it seems to be moving in circles.

What we know about the victims of the Indianapolis mass shooting

Officials load a body into a vehicle at the site of the mass shooting in Indianapolis. Photo:

Eight people who were killed along with several others who were injured in a Thursday evening shooting at a FedEx facility in Indianapolis have been identified by local law enforcement.

The big picture: The Sikh Coalition said at least four of the eight victims were members of the Indianapolis Sikh community.

Pompeo, wife misused State Dept. resources, federal watchdog finds

Former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

The State Department's independent watchdog found that former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo violated federal ethics rules when he and his wife asked department employees to perform personal tasks on more than 100 occasions, including picking up their dog and making private dinner reservations.

Why it matters: The report comes as Pompeo pours money into a new political group amid speculation about a possible 2024 presidential run.