0811 GMT January 19, 2019
A spokesperson for the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) announced in a statement on Friday that Tero Varjoranta, a 61-year-old Finn, “has resigned effective 11 May 2018,” without giving more details regarding the reasons behind his sudden departure, adding, however, that the agency’s “safeguards activities will continue to be carried out in a highly professional manner,” Press TV reported.
Since October 2013, Varjoranta had been a deputy director general of the atomic agency and head of its Department of Safeguards, which verifies countries’ compliance with the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.
The statement added that IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano has appointed “Massimo Aparo, acting director, Office for Verification in Iran, as acting deputy director general and head of the Department of Safeguards, effective immediately.”
Varjoranta’s resignation came three days after Trump declared that his country was pulling out of the Iran nuclear agreement, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), saying Washington would not only reinstate the anti-Iran sanctions lifted as part of the deal, but would also “be instituting the highest level of economic” bans against the Islamic Republic.
Trump made no mention in his Tuesday announcement about any act by Iran that could be interpreted as a violation of the JCPOA’s terms. He only lashed out at the hard-fought deal, saying it had “weak” limits on Tehran’s nuclear program.
The UN’s nuclear watchdog says Iran is abiding by the terms of its nuclear agreement with world powers.