The 35-nation board of the UN nuclear watchdog announced on Friday that Rafael Grossi of Argentina had received their support for a second tenure as director general, through 2027.
The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA176 )’s members still need to accept Grossi’s appointment for a further four years, but this is viewed 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, whch was marked by crises from Russia’s war on Ukraine, to Iran and North Korea.
As the former director general, Japanese professional diplomat Yukiya Amano, passed away while still in office in December 2019, Grossi became the first IAEA director general to be from Latin America.
The multilingual father of eight from Argentina, who is renowned for his vivacious and outspoken personality, toured Europe’s largest nuclear plant in Ukraine, Zaporizhzhia, last year in an effort to create a security perimeter around the facility, which has been frequently shelled.
Grossi reissued his warning on the threat of frequent power outages at the Zaporizhzhia plant on Thursday after another missile strike forced it to operate on diesel generators.
Grossi has also faced difficulties navigating the IAEA’s position in the extremely sensitive and complicated Iranian nuclear case.
The UN watchdog was tasked in 2015 with keeping tabs on the execution of the historic nuclear agreement, which was reached between Tehran and major world powers and was intended to rein in Iran’s nuclear program in return for the lifting of sanctions.
Under then-president Donald Trump, the agreement fell apart after Washington abruptly withdrew in 2018, and attempts to revive it have since stalled.
“The DG (Grossi) has shown extraordinary leadership during some of the Agency’s most significant & historic challenges,” Laura Holgate, United States ambassador to the United Nations in Vienna, wrote on Twitter.