UN nuclear watchdog's chief inspector resigns: agency

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A spokesperson for the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) announced in a statement on Friday that Tero Varjoranta, a 61-year-old Finn, "has resigned effective 11 May 2018", without giving more details regarding the reasons behind his sudden departure, adding, however, that the agency's "safeguards activities will continue to be carried out in a highly professional manner".

Iran has stuck to its commitment under the 2015 nuclear deal, the head of the UNs atomic watchdog said, a day after the United States withdrew from the worldwide agreement calling it "defective at its core".

Varjoranta, who was in the role for nearly five years, will be replaced temporarily by Massimo Aparo, an Italian nuclear engineer who was most recently the agency's top inspector for Iran.

The IAEA has repeatedly said that according to its inspectors on the ground in Iran, no violations of the agreement had taken place, and there has been no evidence of any activity relating to any "nuclear explosive device", after 2009.

Iran has already said it would remain in the JCPOA for now, pending negotiations with the other signatories in the coming weeks before making a final decision on its future role in the pact.

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The comments were made by Khamenei while he addressed the Iranian government in a televised speech, "We hear that you want to continue the nuclear deal with the three European countries".

Kaveh Afrasiabi, the former adviser to Iran's nuclear-negotiating team noted, as he spoke about the reshuffle, that "there's a history of bullying powers trying to influence the IAEA".

USA officials have said that despite the US's withdrawal from the Iran accord, they want the IAEA's inspections in Iran to continue.

Afrasiabi said that a new deal is not on the cards, as Trump "burned the bridge with Iran" and has "zero credibility with the Iranian people".

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