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New IAEA Director General Picked
Jill Marie Parillo
July 2, 2009
The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) finally agreed on a new director general, Japanese Ambassador Yukiya Amano. The IAEA is a crucial body in the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) regime that ensures that non nuclear weapon states do not use nuclear energy technology for weapons.
The first six votes for director general failed to produce the necessary 23 votes of the 35 board members. After intensive lobbying by the United States and other Western nations, Amano finally won. He will take over from Egyptian director, Mohamed ElBaradei, who was executive director for 12 years.
This is a crucial position. The IAEA is center stage on the Iranian case, and as the only verification mechanism of the NPT, will influence the 2010 NPT Review Conference. The fact that Amano seemed to be a Western state pick, may complicate Iranian and NPT negotiations. However, Amano comes with great experience. He took part in NPT and the Comprehensive Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) negotiations. Let's wish him luck!