On Monday, the United Nations Nuclear Watchdog Chief Yukiya Amano has died, said the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), as he was preparing to step down over unspecified illness. 

The 72-year-old Japanese had held the post of the IAEA Director-General since 2009, took over from Mohamed ElBaradei and served the United Nations through a time of intense diplomacy over nuclear program in Iran.

Mr. Amano had also been planning to leave the post in March, before the end of his third-fourth year tenure, which continues till November 30, 2021. 

In September 2018, the IAEA has announced that Mr. Amano had underwent an unspecified medical treatment. The certain nature of the illness has remained a prohibited subject within the agency, said diplomats, but with each public aspect he had emerged increasingly weak. 

The Secretariat’s note reads: “The Secretariat of the International Atomic Energy Agency regrets to inform with deepest sadness of the passing away of Director General Yukiya Amano.”

However, it did not lay out a timeframe for naming his successor, though a fight to succeed him had been taking form since last week, when it became clear that he would stop down at the earliest. 

Rafael Grossi, Ambassador of Argentina to the IAEA, is likely to succeed Yukiya Amano, said diplomats that the agency’s Chief Coordinator Cornel Feruta of Romania, effectively his chief of staff, is expected to run. Others could also enter the competition. 

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