Firm and fair stance on Iran: new head of the UN nuclear agency

VIENNA: The incoming head of the UN atomic surveillance agency said Monday that he will take a firm and fair approach to inspections of Iran's nuclear facilities, and plans to visit Tehran in the near future.

The comments of the Argentine diplomat came after he was confirmed as the new general director of International Atomic Energy Agency unanimously in a special session. His four-year term begins on Tuesday.

The 58 year old is successful Yukiya Amano , who died in July, and takes over at a time when the nuclear agreement between Iran and world powers is falling apart.

The 2015 historic agreement known as the Joint Comprehensive Action Plan promised Iran economic incentives in exchange for curbing its nuclear program. The IAEA's role has been to inspect and verify Iran's compliance with the agreement.

With the unilateral withdrawal of the United States from the agreement last year and the imposition of new US sanctions, Iran's economy has been struggling.

Until now, the other nations involved (France, Germany, Great Britain, China and Russia) have not been able to compensate for the effects, and Iran has been slowly violating the terms of the JCPOA.

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 about the situation in Iran, and added that his philosophy on inspection safeguards should be firm and fair.

Those two guiding principles apply not only to Iran, but to the way in which the IAEA deals with everyone, although different cases require different approaches, he said.

An inspector is not a friend. It is someone who comes and needs to determine the facts without prejudice, without an agenda, in an objective and impartial manner, Grossi said.

This must be done firmly, but also fairly.

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