Page last updated at 16:03 GMT, Tuesday, 1 December 2009

New head of the IAEA sees 'storms' ahead for agency

Yuikya Amano Director General of the IAEA
Yukiya Amano said the atmosphere around the IAEA was "stormy"

The new head of the International Atomic Energy Agency took office on Tuesday, amidst "stormy" negotiations with Iran over its nuclear programme.

Yukiya Amano, a 62-year-old Japanese diplomat, arrived for his first day as director general at the United Nations agency in Vienna.

He take takes over from Egyptian diplomat Mohamed ElBaradei, who stepped down Monday after 12 years in the job.

Last week Iran announced it would build a further 10 nuclear installations.

"The situation around the agency is stormy now," Mr Amano, formerly Japan's envoy to the IAEA, said. "We have a lot of difficult issues and challenges, but I would like to do my best."

Iran censure

Last week, the watchdog's 35-member board passed a stern resolution against Iran over its controversial nuclear programme, which the IAEA has been investigating for the past seven years.

Japanese diplomat aged 62
Considered a reserved technocrat
Law graduate
Speaks fluent French
Held numerous diplomatic postings
Negotiated Comprehensive Test Ban treaty
Special expertise in multilateral disarmament

Tehran complained that the move was "an act of bullying" and said it would reduce co-operation with the agency to a minimum.

Mr Amano served as Japan's ambassador to the IAEA from August 2005 until his selection as director general in July 2009.

Iran has said it will build a further 10 laboratories to enrich uranium for what they say is a civilian nuclear programme.

The six nations involved in negotiations with Iran - the US, UK, France, Germany, China and Russia - have condemned the announcement.

On Tuesday China said it would not support sanctions against Iran and has instead called for diplomatic efforts to be "stepped up".

Western powers say Iran is trying to develop nuclear arms. Iran says its nuclear programme is peaceful.

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