UN's Top Nuclear Inspector Steps Down

IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano

The United Nation's top nuclear inspector has abruptly resigned amid a renewed focus on the agency's work with Iran and its nuclear program.

The agency was tasked with conducting inspections to verify if Iran is complying with the terms set down by the deal.

The nuclear watchdog said it wouldn't comment on confidential personnel matters but that Varjoranta, who had been in the role for five years, would be replaced temporarily by Massimo Aparo, previously the agency's top inspector for Iran.

A permanent replacement will be appointed as soon as possible, the IAEA spokesperson said.

The United States covers about a quarter of the regular budget and has volunteered an additional $US3 million for Iran inspections since 2015, the U.S. official said.

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The Vienna-based nuclear agency says it has no indications Iran is in breach of the accord, the report concluded.

The agency also points to the some 2,000 tamper-proof seals attached to nuclear material and equipment and to the "hundreds of thousands of images captured daily by our sophisticated surveillance cameras", the number of which has nearly doubled since 2013.

He described the three-year-old agreement as "a significant verification gain" adding that "as of today, the IAEA can confirm that the nuclear-related commitments are being implemented by Iran".

All of the U.S.'s negotiating partners - the U.K., France, Germany, Russia, China and the European Union - had agreed that maintaining the JCPOA was the best way to reign in Iran's program.

However, some analysts fear a collapse of the deal now that the U.S. has withdrawn and re-imposed sanctions on Iran, which may lead to Iran ending co-operation with the IAEA's inspections.

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