“Narrow victory for new IAEA chief highlights strong divisions”

“Narrow victory for new IAEA chief highlights strong divisions”
July 2 & 3, 2009
     Japanese diplomat Yukiya Amano has been elected the new head of the IAEA, barely gaining the necessary 2/3 majority by winning 23 out of 34 votes cast after 6 total rounds of balloting. Mark Heinrich and Sylvia Westall report disappointment among IAEA officials with the result, quoting one unnamed European diplomat as saying “everyone looked a little glum when the result was announced.” Although Amano is supported by the US and other industrialized nations, developing nations have argued he is a poor communicator and a “tool” of the West (Reuters). Russia had reportedly said a minimal margin of victory for Amano would be “unacceptable” and would worsen the divide between industrialized and developing nations in the IAEA (Al Jazeera).
     The US believes Amano will be willing to pursue a hard line against Iran’s nuclear program (Press Association). However, in a recent interview, Amano encouraged dialogue with Iran and praised US efforts toward engagement, and he is widely expected to be less politically outspoken then current IAEA head Mohamed ElBaradei (Reuters (2)). Iran’s IAEA ambassador Ali Asghar Soltaniyeh urged Amano to act “independently and impartially” to promote international cooperation and peaceful uses of nuclear energy (ISNA).
Reuters | Al Jazeera | Press Association | Reuters (2) | ISNA


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