Rafael Grossi
Rafael GrossiLev Radin/Sipa USA via Reuters Connect

The UN nuclear watchdog's 35-nation board said on Friday it had backed Rafael Grossi to serve as director general for a second term, until 2027, AFP reported.

Grossi's appointment for four more years still has to be approved by all 176 members of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) at its annual meeting in September but this is seen as a formality.

"I'm deeply honored by the board's unanimous decision to appoint me for another term in office, and very grateful for the confidence and trust member states continue to place in me," the 62-year-old career diplomat said.

"It comes at a time when we face many major challenges," Grossi said of his turbulent first term, which was marked by crises from Russia's war on Ukraine, to Iran and North Korea.

In December 2019, Grossi became the first IAEA head to hail from Latin America, following the death in office of the former director general, Japanese career diplomat Yukiya Amano.

His reappointment comes as Iran accelerates its nuclear program. Grossi recently visited Tehran, where he received assurances from Iran that surveillance cameras at several nuclear sites would be reconnected and the pace of inspections increased.

His visit to Iran took place following an IAEA report which said that inspectors in Iran had found uranium particles enriched 83.7%, nearly bomb grade, at the Fordow plant.

Grossi has encouraged Iran and world powers to resume talks on a return to the 2015 nuclear deal. Those talks have been stalled since September, when Iran announced it had submitted its comments to a European Union draft for reviving the agreement. The US said the Iranian response "is not at all encouraging.”

(Israel National News' North American desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Israel National News articles, however, is Israeli time.)