UN nuclear watchdog to appoint new head in October
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UN nuclear watchdog to appoint new head in October

IAEA says next leader should enter office in January, following death of Yukiya Amano last month

A book of condolence in front of a portrait of the late director general of the IAEA, Yukiya Amano, in Vienna, Austria, July 22, 2019. (AP Photo/Ronald Zak)
A book of condolence in front of a portrait of the late director general of the IAEA, Yukiya Amano, in Vienna, Austria, July 22, 2019. (AP Photo/Ronald Zak)

The United Nations’ nuclear watchdog aims to name a new leader in October following the death last month of Yukiya Amano, its director general for the past decade.

The International Atomic Energy Agency said as its board of governors met in Vienna Thursday that nominations for the job should be submitted by September 5 and the new director general is expected to be appointed in October. The new leader should take office by January 1.

Cornel Feruta, a Romanian diplomat and the IAEA’s chief coordinator, is serving as the acting director general pending the naming of a permanent successor to Amano.

The Japanese diplomat, who died at age 72, was extensively involved in negotiations over Iran’s nuclear program and the cleanup of the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan.

A technician at the Uranium Conversion Facility just outside the city of Isfahan, Iran, 255 miles (410 kilometers) south of the capital Tehran, February 3, 2007. (AP/Vahid Salemi/File)

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 last year. Iran recently breached the cap of enriched uranium set out in the agreement and European nations were working frantically to salvage the accord.

Iran’s semi-official Tasnim news agency claimed last week that Israel was responsible for the death of the UN nuclear watchdog chief. The International Atomic Energy Agency dismissed the Tasnin report. It told The Times of Israel: “[We] categorically deny these false reports. Director General Yukiya Amano passed away on 18 July as a result of his illness.”

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