The possibility of a military conflict over Iran's nuclear program has decreased, according to US officials and analysts, the New York Times reported Monday.

"While there isn't an agreement between the US and Israel on how much time, there is an agreement that there is time to give diplomacy a chance," Dennis Ross - until recently the top White House adviser on Iran - was quoted as saying. Ross added that the focus was now on negotiations, "which doesn't mean that the threat of using force is going away, but it lies behind the diplomacy."

The paper also quoted an Obama administration official as saying this week: "I do think the temperature has cooled."

Also Monday, an Iranian envoy voiced hope that talks with the UN nuclear watchdog in mid-May would help resolve "outstanding issues", but he again ruled out any halt to Tehran's controversial uranium enrichment program.

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said on Saturday it would resume discussions with Iran on May 14-15 - more than two months after the last meeting over concerns about Tehran's atomic activities ended in failure.

"We hope that this will be a very constructive and successful meeting," Iran's ambassador to the Vienna-based IAEA, Ali Asghar Soltanieh, told Reuters.

Reuters contributed to this report

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