Iran accuses Israel and US of assassinating nuclear watchdog chief

The alleged motive was that Yukiya Amano refused to echo President Trump’s accusations against Iran regarding the nuclear deal.

By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News

An Iranian news agency published a report on Wednesday citing anonymous sources accusing Israel and the U.S. of assassinating the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), who died on July 18.

The IAEA announced the death of Yukiya Amano at age 72 from ill health on Monday. The organization said it had delayed the news “to allow his family to hold a funeral in peace,” according to the Japanese Kyodo news outlet.

Citing the same “informed” sources, the Tasnim News Agency hinted at a more sinister motive, reporting that the U.S. and Israel had “kept the news of the death of Amano in the dark for a couple of days after his funeral.”

According to the report, Amano was resisting the two countries’ “heavy pressures to open a false case against Iran on the nuclear issue.” They therefore had him eliminated the sources said.

The U.S. and Israel have accused Iran of violating the 2015 nuclear accord and the Trump administration reapplied sanctions in May 2018.

However, as recently as its first quarterly report of 2019, the IAEA said Iran was still meeting its obligations under the accord.

“Iran is implementing its nuclear commitments,” Amano confirmed to the agency’s board of governors in March.

According to Tasnim, Israel and the U.S. preferred a new IAEA chief, one presumably more inclined to their viewpoint.

Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araghchi tweeted his respects Tuesday for Amano’s “skillful & professional performance” as IAEA head. He added a picture of the two of them with the words, “May the Almighty bless his soul.”

Earlier this month, Iran publicly announced that it had breached the accord because the European signatories to the deal had not succeeded in finding a away around U.S. sanctions.

Tehran said it surpassed the imposed limit on its stockpile of low-enriched uranium and begun enriching it beyond what is allowed, raising it from 3.67 percent to 4.5 percent.

Amano had served as director-general of the IAEA since 2009. He had planned to resign by next year, still in the middle of his third term in office, due to his poor health.