U.N. nuclear inspector dies in Iran

A member of the U.N. nuclear watchdog’s inspection team died and a second official was injured in a car crash as the two were carrying out inspections inside Iran on Tuesday, U.N. officials and diplomats said.

The two, veteran inspectors for the International Atomic Energy Agency, were traveling in Iran’s Khondab region when their vehicle skidded off the road, diplomats briefed on the incident said. The region is near the partly constructed Arak nuclear reactor, which is visited regularly by agency teams as part of Iran’s nuclear safeguards agreements.

The IAEA confirmed the incident in a statement, identifying the fatally injured man only as a South Korean national and his colleague as a Slovenian. No further details of the accident were given, and details about the victims were being withheld while the agency notified the men’s relatives.

“The Agency is in touch with the inspectors’ families and with the Iranian authorities,” the IAEA statement read.

A former colleague of the South Korean described him as a “good, reliable and experienced inspector and friend who we are missing.” He insisted on anonymity while the notification process was underway.

The crash occurred at a sensitive time in the agency’s relations with the Iran, which is scheduled to meet with the United States and five other world powers later this month for a second round of talks on curbs to Iran’s nuclear program. The IAEA has been prodding Iran to account for past nuclear research that agency officials say appears related to the design and testing of nuclear warheads. Iran contends that its nuclear program is entirely peaceful.


View Photo Gallery: Iran says it’s nuclear program is for peaceful purposes, not to build a bomb.

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Joby Warrick joined the Post’s national staff in 1996. He has covered national security, intelligence and the Middle East, and currently writes about the environment.
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