New vote soon on IAEA Director General

The International Atomic Energy Agency Board of Governors will vote again for a successor to its Director General, Mohamed ElBaradei, since the favored candidate, Yukiya Amano of Japan, failed to receive the necessary two-thirds majority.

Amano was favored by the US and other developed nations while the other candidate, Abdul Samad Minty, of South Africa, was favored by developing nations.

The 35 member Board of Governors wields the real power in this semi-autonomous international agency. The Board selects the Director General with the concurrence of the General Conference of all the 146 IAEA member states. The IAEA has its own funding and governance, but works with the United Nations through an agreement. Its headquarters are in Vienna, Austria.

The IAEA is supposed to be a technical agency to provide assistance to member states, to promote the peaceful use of atomic energy and to implement inspections under the
Nonproflieration Treaty on Nuclear Weapons. But under the current Director General, Mohamed ElBaradei, the agency has often ventured into the diplomatic arena which is supposed to be within the purview of the United Nations. ElBaradei was criticized by the Bush administration several times for his acquiescence in allowing Iran to develop uranium enrichment capability.

In 2005, the Bush administration opposed ElBaradei for reappointment as Director General. However, there was no viable alternative candidate and Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice, eventually worked out a modus vivendi with ElBaradei and he was reappointed.

While the IAEA is a technical agency, it has no real power to sanction any member state. The UN Security Council is the only body which has that authority, and with the veto power of Russia and China, any sanctions are often watered down so that they are worthless.

The Japanese candidate, Amano, is a technocrat who may not have been ideally suited to the job, but he would have served our interests much better than Minty.

There may be a compromise candidate for the IAEA Director General post. Spaniard, Luis Echávarri, director general of the Nuclear Energy Agency, has entered the race. He, too, would appear to be a good candidate. The next round of voting will commence sometime toward the end of April

The US is currently represented at the IAEA by Gregory Schulte, a Bush appointee, until his successor is nominated by President Obama and confirmed by the Senate. Schulte is an intelligent, articulate advocate for the US. He worked for Rice when she was National Security Advisor. The author has met Schulte twice and was favorably impressed by him.

The appointment of Schulte's successor will be an important test of the Obama administration to determine how tough they want to be in dealing with Iran. Certainly, the appointment of Susan Rice as ambassador to the UN is not a good omen nor is Obama's effort to reach out to the Iranian regime. It is very important to our security and that of Israel and other countries in the Middle East, and the rest of the world, for a tough diplomat to be appointed as our ambassador to the IAEA.

Various authors here at AT have been critical of the IAEA for good reason. But it is important to distinguish between the political work of the Director General and the technical work of the IAEA staff. The Director General deserves all of the criticism for his enabling of Iran to develop the capability to enrich uranium in its quest to develop nuclear weapons. The IAEA staff, however, are scientists and engineers who are performing various technical work in the pursuit of the IAEA's mission. This staff work, through its inspection program, continues to provide the US, Europe and Japan, with good insight into the technical capabilty of Iran and other rogue nations as they pursue these weapons. For this reason, the staff effort should be supported.

Ed Waage worked at the IAEA during 2005, but was not involved in the inspection program.
The International Atomic Energy Agency Board of Governors will vote again for a successor to its Director General, Mohamed ElBaradei, since the favored candidate, Yukiya Amano of Japan, failed to receive the necessary two-thirds majority.

Amano was favored by the US and other developed nations while the other candidate, Abdul Samad Minty, of South Africa, was favored by developing nations.

The 35 member Board of Governors wields the real power in this semi-autonomous international agency. The Board selects the Director General with the concurrence of the General Conference of all the 146 IAEA member states. The IAEA has its own funding and governance, but works with the United Nations through an agreement. Its headquarters are in Vienna, Austria.

The IAEA is supposed to be a technical agency to provide assistance to member states, to promote the peaceful use of atomic energy and to implement inspections under the
Nonproflieration Treaty on Nuclear Weapons. But under the current Director General, Mohamed ElBaradei, the agency has often ventured into the diplomatic arena which is supposed to be within the purview of the United Nations. ElBaradei was criticized by the Bush administration several times for his acquiescence in allowing Iran to develop uranium enrichment capability.

In 2005, the Bush administration opposed ElBaradei for reappointment as Director General. However, there was no viable alternative candidate and Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice, eventually worked out a modus vivendi with ElBaradei and he was reappointed.

While the IAEA is a technical agency, it has no real power to sanction any member state. The UN Security Council is the only body which has that authority, and with the veto power of Russia and China, any sanctions are often watered down so that they are worthless.

The Japanese candidate, Amano, is a technocrat who may not have been ideally suited to the job, but he would have served our interests much better than Minty.

There may be a compromise candidate for the IAEA Director General post. Spaniard, Luis Echávarri, director general of the Nuclear Energy Agency, has entered the race. He, too, would appear to be a good candidate. The next round of voting will commence sometime toward the end of April

The US is currently represented at the IAEA by Gregory Schulte, a Bush appointee, until his successor is nominated by President Obama and confirmed by the Senate. Schulte is an intelligent, articulate advocate for the US. He worked for Rice when she was National Security Advisor. The author has met Schulte twice and was favorably impressed by him.

The appointment of Schulte's successor will be an important test of the Obama administration to determine how tough they want to be in dealing with Iran. Certainly, the appointment of Susan Rice as ambassador to the UN is not a good omen nor is Obama's effort to reach out to the Iranian regime. It is very important to our security and that of Israel and other countries in the Middle East, and the rest of the world, for a tough diplomat to be appointed as our ambassador to the IAEA.

Various authors here at AT have been critical of the IAEA for good reason. But it is important to distinguish between the political work of the Director General and the technical work of the IAEA staff. The Director General deserves all of the criticism for his enabling of Iran to develop the capability to enrich uranium in its quest to develop nuclear weapons. The IAEA staff, however, are scientists and engineers who are performing various technical work in the pursuit of the IAEA's mission. This staff work, through its inspection program, continues to provide the US, Europe and Japan, with good insight into the technical capabilty of Iran and other rogue nations as they pursue these weapons. For this reason, the staff effort should be supported.

Ed Waage worked at the IAEA during 2005, but was not involved in the inspection program.