VIENNA, Nov. 30 (UPI) -- Mohamed ElBaradei stepped down Monday as the director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, urging his colleagues to "carry forward the torch."
ElBaradei, who will be replaced by Yukiya Amano, led the IAEA for three terms -- 12 years -- after taking over from Hans Blix. He urged IAEA staffers a brief assembly at the Vienna International Center to carry forward the torch" and to sustain their "100 percent commitment" to preserving and expanding peace, freedom, justice, and human dignity, the agency said in a release.
"The moment of departure is an opportunity to reflect upon a journey of joy, challenges, pleasure and fulfillment," ElBaradei said. "It is a feeling of gratitude to be leaving at a moment when the agency has reached such prominence in contributing to international security and development."
ElBaradei famously clashed with the Bush administration and also was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2005. The Times of London, at the time, termed the award a "slap in the face of the United States" and called ElBaradei "a failure."
The agency's dealing with Iran during ElBaradei's tenure is perhaps the most notable aspect of the period.