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UN nuclear agency appoints Romanian diplomat Feruta as interim chief

Cornel Feruta, IAEA Chief Coordinator, delivers his welcome address to member states delegates attending a seminar at the agency headquarters in Vienna, April 10, 2014. (Photo by IAEA website)

Romanian diplomat Cornel Feruta will head the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) until member states agree on who will permanently succeed deceased Director General Yukiya Amano.

The IAEA announced on Monday that chief Yukiya Amano had died, leaving the agency with a leadership vacuum at a time of tensions between Iran and the West following Washington’s decision last year to quit a 2015 international deal that curbed Tehran’s nuclear program in return for an easing of economic sanctions.

“The Board of Governors has decided to designate Mr. Cornel Feruta as acting Director General, until a Director General assumes office,” the United Nations nuclear agency said on Thursday.

Last week, the agency said that Amano’s health problems had forced him to plan an early end to his term, which was originally set to expire in December 2021.

The Japanese diplomat held the position of IAEA director general since 2009 when he took over from Mohamed ElBaradei and began steering the international body through a period of intense diplomacy over Iran’s nuclear program.

Amano, on several occasions, reaffirmed Iran's compliance with its nuclear-related commitments under the 2015 deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). US President Donald Trump, however, pulled his country out of the JCPOA in May 2018 and re-imposed harsh sanctions against the Islamic Republic in defiance of global criticisms.

Sources: (news agencies)

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