The head of the International Atomic Energy Agency – the U.N. body monitoring Iran’s nuclear activities – has died at the age of 72, the agency said in a statement Monday.
Yukiya Amano, a Japanese diplomat, was planning to step down early for unspecified health reasons. The agency’s secretariat, which is based in Vienna, did not say when he died or give a cause of death.
The agency “regrets to inform with deepest sadness of the passing away of Director General Yukiya Amano,” the statement said, adding that the IAEA flag would be lowered to half-staff.
Amano held the post since 2009 and guided the agency through heated international negotiations over Iran’s nuclear program. He oversaw the implementation of inspections of Tehran’s atomic energy activities.
His death could plunge the IAEA into a period of uncertainty as tensions with Iran over its nuclear program are again on the rise.
(c) 2019, The Washington Post · Erin Cunningham