VIENNA (Reuters) - A United Nations nuclear inspector working in Iran was killed in a car accident on Tuesday, Iranian media reported.
The Vienna-based U.N. nuclear watchdog, which regularly inspects Iran’s declared atomic sites, said it had been informed that two of its inspectors were involved in a car accident in the Islamic Republic.
One of them, a South Korean national, was killed and the other, from Slovenia, was injured, the U.N. International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said in a statement, adding it was in contact with Iranian authorities.
They were travelling near the Arak heavy water plant - a site which is part of Iran’s nuclear program - at midday local time when the car skidded and rolled over, Fars News quoted Iran’s Atomic Energy organization as saying.
“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,” Iran’s envoy to the IAEA, Ali Asghar Soltanieh, said in Vienna.
The IAEA often sends inspectors to Iran to visit its nuclear facilities.
It undertook two high-level trips to Iran at the beginning of this year in an effort to address questions raised in an IAEA report in November on suspected Iranian research activities relevant to nuclear weapons.
Iran has dismissed the allegations as fabricated.
The agency has periodically been given access to the Arak compound that houses Iran’s IR-40 heavy water reactor. Built to produce power and radiological isotopes for use in medical treatments and industry, Iranian officials say it will be switched on next year.
The United States and its allies accuse Iran of using its nuclear program to cover up its development of a nuclear weapons capability but Tehran maintains its activities are purely peaceful.
Additional reporting by Fredrik Dahl in Vienna; Editing by Jon Hemming