Monday 16 December 2019
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The News - 13 days ago

New broom at IAEA as Iran tensions rise

VIENNA: Veteran Argentine diplomat Rafael Grossi was sworn in on Monday as the new director general of the UN s nuclear watchdog the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).He told reporters that Iran s nuclear programme at the root of a growing international crisis was a priority for the agency and that he planned to travel to Iran in the relatively near future . Grossi had been serving as Argentina s ambassador to the IAEA and is the agency s first leader from Latin America. He previously held high-level posts at the agency between 2010 and 2013 bringing him into contact with Iranian officials at a time when international negotiations over Iran s nuclear activities were intensifying.According to the former French ambassador to Iran Francois Nicoullaud, Grossi will able to draw on solid experience in proliferation matters . He is someone of a very high calibre who comes from an important country in the nuclear field, says Nicoullaud.A current Vienna-based diplomat said on condition of anonymity that Grossi was expected to bring a lot of energy and innovation to the post, with a particular focus on pushing gender parity within the agency and promoting the role of nuclear energy in fighting climate change.Grossi will be taking over from Yukiya Amano, who died in July at the age of 72 having been in post since 2009. While the US is thought to have lobbied in his favour, diplomats say Grossi has stressed his belief in the importance of the agency s impartiality.Grossi begins his tenure amid a growing crisis over Iran s nuclear programme.The IAEA is charged with monitoring the implementation of the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, which seems in danger of imminent collapse.Without mentioning Iran specifically, Grossi told reporters on Monday that his approach to inspections would be firm and fair . An inspector is not a friend, he said.

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