The International Atomic Energy Agency announced the appointment of Romanian Cornel Feruta as it’s new interim Director General, several days after the UN nuclear watchdog’s longtime head Yukiya Amano passed away at the age of 72.
A professional diplomat who had previously served as IAEA chief coordinator, Feruta worked closely with Amano and was a strong backer of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action nuclear deal intended to limit Irans nuclear program.
“As a consequence of the recent passing away of Director General Yukiya Amano, and in order to ensure the orderly and smooth functioning of the Agency, the Board of Governors has decided to designate Mr Cornel Feruta as acting Director General, until a Director General assumes office,” the IAEA said in a statement on its website on Thursday afternoon.
Amano’s death came at a time of increasing concerns and escalating tensions over Iran’s nuclear program, after US President Donald Trump left a 2015 deal with world powers that restricted the country’s nuclear uranium enrichment.
He had been heavily involved in the years-long negotiations that led to the landmark deal.
A graduate of the Tokyo University Faculty of Law, Amano joined the Japanese Foreign Ministry in 1972 and was posted to jobs in Belgium, France, Laos, Switzerland, and the United States.
At the Foreign Ministry, Amano was chief of the Disarmament, Non-Proliferation and Science Department from 2002 until 2005.
He then served as Japan’s representative to the IAEA until his election as director general in July 2009, including a stint as chair of its board of governors in 2005-2006.