Dec 03, 2019 07:57 Asia/Tehran [Updated: Dec 15, 2019 14:46 Asia/Tehran]

Argentinian diplomat Rafael Grossi took the helm at the UN nuclear watchdog after being confirmed as its new leader.

Iran PressEurope: Argentine diplomat Rafael Mariano Grossi was confirmed as the new director-general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, (IAEA) unanimously at a special session.

His four-year term begins on Tuesday.

The incoming head of the UN’s atomic watchdog agency said on Monday that he will take a “firm and fair” approach toward inspections of Iran’s nuclear facilities, and plans to visit Tehran in the near future, AP reported.

The 58-year-old succeeds Yukiya Amano, who died in July, and takes over at a time when the nuclear deal between Iran and world powers is unraveling.

Tehran is, however, continuing to provide IAEA inspectors access. Grossi told reporters he expected to travel to Iran himself in the “relatively near future” to meet with leaders there.

“It is really a priority,” he said of the situation in Iran, adding that his philosophy on inspection safeguards was to be “firm and fair.”

Those “two guiding principles” apply not just to Iran, but to how the IAEA deals with everybody, though “different cases demand different approaches,” he said.

“An inspector is not a friend. He’s someone who comes and needs to ascertain the facts without bias, without agenda, in an objective and impartial way. This has to be done in firmness, but in fairness as well,” Grossi said.

Grossi became Argentina’s ambassador to the Vienna-based IAEA in 2013 and was previously the IAEA’s chief of the cabinet under Amano.

The landmark 2015 deal known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) promised Iran economic incentives in exchange for curbs on its nuclear program. The IAEA’s role has been to inspect and verify Iran’s compliance with the deal.

On 8th May 2018, the US unilaterally pulled out of the multilateral international nuclear deal and re-imposed tough sanctions on Iran; no longer as UN sanctions but as US maximum-pressure sanctions.

Meanwhile, Iran took the fourth step in reducing its commitments including the injection of uranium hexafluoride gas (UF6) into Fordow's centrifuges, pouring concrete for a new reactor at the Bushehr power plant and operating 60 IR-6 advanced centrifuges.

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