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IAEA inspector dies in Iran car crash

An IAEA inspector from South Korea was killed in a car accident in Iran, state media reported.

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An inspector for the International Atomic Energy Agency was reportedly killed in a car accident in Iran, state media reported on May 8, 2012. (JOE KLAMAR/AFP/Getty Images)

An International Atomic Energy Agency inspector from South Korea was killed in a car accident in Iran on Tuesday, state media reported, according to Reuters.

The UN nuclear watchdog, based in Vienna, confirmed that it had received information of two inspectors involved in a car accident in the Islamic Republic.

The IAEA, which inspects some of Iran's atomic sites on a regular basis, said that the other inspector, from Slovenia, was also injured in the car accident.

Iran's envoy to the IAEA, Ali Asghar Soltanieh, said in Vienna, "I am deeply saddened about news that one of the Agency's inspectors was killed in a car accident during the fulfillment of his duty in Iran today," according to Reuters.

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According to Iran's Atomic Energy Organization, the inspectors were on a mission near the Khondab complex in the Markazi province when the accident happened. "The car carrying the two skidded and overturned at around 12 p.m. on Tuesday," said the agency, according to the Guardian.

The Islamic Republic News Agency named the dead Korean inspector as Seo Ok-seok, though the IAEA did not release a name.

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The Associated Press noted that though there were no immediate signs of foul play, the crash would likely be subjected to intense scrutiny.

The car overturned near a heavy water reactor under construction, which Iran claims will be used to produce isotopes for medical and industrial use, not for nuclear weapons as the international community fears.

The AP said the accident happened ahead of a new round of discussions between Tehran and the IAEA which begin on Sunday in Vienna. Iran and six world powers are also scheduled to meet in Baghdad later this month for higher-level talks.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/middle-east/iran/120508/iaea-inspector-dies-iran-car-crash