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Friday, March 27, 2009

Israel favors Amano for IAEA leadership

Fri, 27 Mar 2009 12:18:17 GMT | PressTV

Yukiya Amano
Israeli government sources say that Tel Aviv and its closest ally, Washington, prefer to see Japanese Yukiya Amano as the next IAEA chief.

"Government sources. . . seem to prefer the Japanese candidate, Yukiya Amano, rather than South African candidate Abdul Samad Minty," Israeli daily The Jerusalem Post reported on Thursday.

The 35 board-member nations of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) failed to elect a new director general in their first rounds of voting on Thursday, as none of the contenders managed to win the required two-thirds majority.

Amano gained an advantage over Minty by 21-14, 20-15 and 20-15 but could not manage to secure the spot. The IAEA will hold another round of voting on Friday.

Mohamed ElBaradei, the incumbent IAEA director general, announced in September that he plans to end his leadership without seeking a fourth term as the UN nuclear watchdog's chief.

"Government sources in Israel said that while Amano and Minty have equivalent technical expertise for the job, South Africa's relationship with Iran is very problematic from an Israeli perspective," the Israeli newspaper said.

Israel and its western allies allege that Iran, a signatory to the nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty, is pursuing a military nuclear program.

Tehran, however, rejects the claims saying that its nuclear program is solely aimed at producing electricity to meet the country's growing demand.

Tel Aviv's support for Amano comes as no surprise, since Japan, Amano's country of origin, has close relations with the United States -- Israel's closest ally.

Minty, on the other hand, is from South Africa, a country that enjoys cordial relations with Iran.

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