President Trump’s retracting from the 2015 Iran deal has led to a spate of resignations of top officials who have worked on the Iran nuclear program. First, it was Richard Johnson from the US State Department’s Office of Nuclear Implementation who quit after negotiations failed to hold the US within the deal.
Though no reasons were forwarded by Johnson for quitting he stated that he was proud to have been a part of the Iran deal which had so far held the country in check from producing a nuclear weapon. Close on the heels of his resignation, news came that a top inspector from the International Atomic Energy Agency, (IAEA) Mr. Tero Varjoranta had tendered his resignation. The resigning was from immediate effect. There were no reasons given to substantiate his sudden resignation. UN’s nuclear regulator stated that it did not intervene in private and personnel affairs of its officials.
Mr. Varjoranta who belonged to Finland headed the Department of Safeguards at the International Atomic Energy Agency and held the post of Deputy Director-General there. He was working in this capacity for about five years. His vacancy will be temporarily filled in by Massimo Aparo. A nuclear engineer from Italy, Aparo’s current role has been that of a top inspector for the Department’s team in Iran.
The UN’s nuclear regulator has been ensuring that countries follow the regulations of the nuclear non-proliferation treaty from the time of October 2013. The sudden resignation of Mr. Varjoranta soon after the quitting of Mr. Johnson has created a vacuum in the availability of experts with the State Department in the US as well as at the IAEA based in Vienna. Both these officials had been familiar with the nuclear program being carried out in Iran.
The Iran deal included a Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) signed by Iran, Russia, the EU, China, Britain, France and Germany along with the USA in 2015.
Now, after the end of US commitment to the deal, what does the future hold in store for the other countries has to be seen!