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Argentina's Grossi To Take Office As IAEA Director-General This Week

Newly-sworn in Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Rafael Grossi takes part in the Second Special Session of the General Conference of the IAEA at the agency's headquarters in Vienna on December 2, 2019. (Photo by JOE KLAMAR

Argentinian diplomat Rafael Grossi has been sworn in as the new director-general of the UN's nuclear watchdog, amid growing tensions over Iran's nuclear program.

The member states of the Vienna-based International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) on December 2 approved Grossi’s appointment for a four-year term.

The 58-year-old is to take office on December 3, succeeding to Yukiya Amano, who died during his third term in office in July.

The IAEA is tasked in particular with monitoring the implementation of an increasingly faltering Iran nuclear deal with world powers.

New Director General Of The IAEA Rafael Mariano Grossi Takes Office
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The United States last year withdrew from the 2015 nuclear agreement that gave Iran access to world trade in exchange for curbs on its nuclear program, and has since reimposed crippling sanctions on the Iranian economy.

Meanwhile, Tehran has gradually reduced some of its commitments under the accord.

In the speech he delivered after he was sworn in, Grossi did not directly mention his major task of managing IAEA inspections in Iran.

However, he stressed that the agency “makes a unique contribution to international peace and security by verifying that nuclear materials are not being diverted from peaceful purposes.”

The world is “safer because of the dedication and vigilance of our inspectors,” Grossi said, adding that they “provide assurance that countries are abiding by the agreements they have entered into.”