VIENNA (AFP) - Veteran Japanese diplomat Yukiya Amano won the contest on Thursday to head the International Atomic Energy Agency, giving him a pivotal role in dealing with Irans nuclear ambitions. Tokyos current envoy to the UN nuclear watchdog was chosen after six rounds of voting when he scraped together the requisite two-thirds majority with backing of 23 of the 35 board members. Eleven voted against and one abstained. Seen as the Western states candidate to succeed outgoing director-general Mohamed ElBaradei, Amano had been running against South African ambassador Abdul Samad Minty, the perceived favourite among developing countries. Under the rules of procedure, all 145 IAEA member states are to meet again on Friday where they will formally appoint Amano by acclamation and his appointment will need the final go-ahead at a general conference in September. Speaking to reporters after the vote, Amano said he was determined to prevent nuclear proliferation and saw a unified approach among IAEA members as crucial to achieving that goal. If I have the privilege of being elected as the new director general of the IAEA, I will do my utmost to enhance the welfare of the human beings and ensure sustainable development through the peaceful use of nuclear energy, he said. Also, as a national coming from Japan, Ill do my utmost to prevent the spread of N-weapons. In order to do that, solidarity of all the member states countries from North, from South, from East and West is absolutely necessary. Amano was born on May 9, 1947, two years after the United States dropped its atomic bombs on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Amano will inherit a very difficult job when the Egyptian ElBaradei steps down in November after three four-year terms as IAEA director general.