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Obama nominates aide for IAEA position as Iran oversight looms

President Obama has nominated a top White House aide to be the U.S. ambassador to the International Atomic Energy Agency, at a time when the nuclear organization is stepping into the spotlight as the chief enforcer of the nuclear deal with Iran.

Laura Holgate has spent the last six years as the National Security Council’s senior director for weapons of mass destruction, terrorism and threat reduction.

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If confirmed by the Senate, she would be tasked with leading the U.S. efforts at the IAEA as it looks to start ramping up oversight of the international nuclear agreement with Iran. 

“Laura has spent her career building and leading global coalitions to prevent states and terrorists from acquiring and using weapons of mass destruction,” national security adviser Susan Rice said in a statement.

“While we will deeply miss her at the White House, there is no better person than Laura to lead our delegation in Vienna during this critical time.”

The IAEA will be taking center stage if the Iran agreement goes into effect later this year. The international organization has been charged with monitoring and inspecting Iran’s compliance with the deal, which sets limits on its nuclear powers in exchange for the lifting of sanctions.

Of late, the IAEA has come under fire for refusing to allow members of Congress an opportunity to read the text of some of its bilateral agreements with Iran.

Before stepping into her current role in 2009, Holgate headed policy on Russia at the Nuclear Threat Initiative, an organization trying to prevent the spread of nuclear, biological and chemical weapons.

She also served in posts in the Energy and Defense departments.