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United Nations nuclear inspections chief quits suddenly

IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano
Ginger Lawrence | 13 May, 2018, 02:20

The UN's nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency today said its top inspector, Tero Varjoranta, has quit with immediate effect.

Finn Varjoranta led the division that monitored the compliance of signatories to the Treaty on the nonproliferation of nuclear weapons, its terms and conditions.

Varjoranta, who was in the role for nearly five years, will be replaced temporarily by Massimo Aparo, an Italian nuclear engineer who was most recently the agency's top inspector for Iran.

Varjoranta was Deputy Director General of the IAEA, and head of the Department of nuclear safety.

The agency did not give any reason for the sudden resignation of the inspector. As requested by the United Nations Security Council and authorised by the IAEA Board of Governors in 2015, the IAEA is verifying and monitoring Iran's implementation of its nuclear-related commitments under the JCPOA.

This was announced by the representative of the organization, writes DW.

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However, many analysts said that the presentation had merely rehashed what was already known about Iran's previous activities.

The U.S. has repeatedly accused Iran of violating the spirit of the agreement secured in 2015 under the Obama administration, but the IAEA says it has no indications Iran has breached the agreement, the AP reported.

Kaveh Afrasiabi, the former adviser to Iran's nuclear-negotiating team noted, as he spoke about the reshuffle, that "there's a history of bullying powers trying to influence the IAEA". However, the appointment of Aparo, who has on-site experience in Iran, may turn out for the better.

According to the statement, the US Administration also requires from Iran to end its cyber-attacks against Israel and other US allies, stop human rights abuses, and unjust detention of foreigners, including US citizens.

The Trump administration faced worldwide criticism this week for its decision to exit the agreement, while Iran has stated it will attempt to negotiate the continuation of the deal among the remaining global signatories.