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Top UN nuclear official abruptly resigns

Top UN nuclear official abruptly resigns
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The United Nation's top nuclear inspector has abruptly resigned amid a renewed focus on the agency's work with Iran and its nuclear program.

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) announced the resignation of its chief inspector Tero Varjoranta on Saturday, The Associated Press reports.

The nuclear watchdog said it wouldn't comment on confidential personnel matters but that Varjoranta, who had been in the role for five years, would be replaced temporarily by Massimo Aparo, previously the agency's top inspector for Iran.

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The resignation comes days after President Trump announced the U.S. would withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal.

The U.S. has repeatedly accused Iran of violating the spirit of the agreement secured in 2015 under the Obama administration, but the IAEA says it has no indications Iran has breached the agreement, the AP reported.

The president's announcement was followed this week by the resignation of Richard Johnson, a former top nuclear expert at the State Department, who called the Iran agreement "clearly successful" in a statement announcing his departure.

“I am proud to have played a small part in this work, particularly the extraordinary achievement of implementing the [deal] with Iran, which has clearly been successful in preventing Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon,” Johnson said in an email to colleagues.

The Trump administration faced international criticism this week for its decision to exit the agreement, while Iran has stated it will attempt to negotiate the continuation of the deal among the remaining global signatories.

Leaders from the United Kingdom, Germany and France released a joint statement after Trump's announcement signaling their commitment to the deal.

“I believe it is wrong to unilaterally tear up the agreement, which was agreed on and which was unanimously approved by the U.N. Security Council," German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Friday