October 29, 2019 / 11:33 AM / 22 days ago

Factbox: Five facts about next U.N. nuclear chief Rafael Grossi

VIENNA (Reuters) - Argentina’s candidate Rafael Grossi on Tuesday secured the necessary two-thirds in a vote by the International Atomic Energy Agency’s 35-nation Board of Governors to become its next director general, diplomats said.

Below are five facts about him.

- Grossi, 58, is a veteran of nuclear diplomacy. He worked in senior positions at the IAEA from 2010 to 2013 and since then as Argentina’s ambassador to the agency. He chairs the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference due to be held in New York next year. The conference is held every five years.

- He has had his sights on the top job at the IAEA for a long time. He previously considered running against Yukiya Amano, who held the position until he died in office in July.

- Diplomats do not expect major shifts under Grossi on the agency’s most high-profile issues, such as policing Iran’s deal with nuclear powers or seeking to return to North Korea, which expelled IAEA inspectors in 2009.

Grossi has called the leadership change an “opportunity to recalibrate”, suggesting he plans moderate reform rather than a radical overhaul.

- Neither Grossi nor his opponent in the final rounds of voting, acting Director General Cornel Feruta of Romania, mentioned Iran in their opening speeches at their IAEA hustings.

Both Feruta and Grossi praised the IAEA’s safeguards work, which involves verifying countries are using nuclear technology solely for peaceful purposes. Grossi has pledged that the IAEA will continue this role in a firm and fair way.

- Grossi held the most public campaign of all four candidates, while his rivals operated mainly behind the scenes. Grossi says the IAEA needs to make its voice heard more in international debates.

Reporting by Francois Murphy; Editing by Angus MacSwan

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