Iran Car Accident Kills IAEA Atomic Inspector

A South Korean inspector from the International Atomic Energy Agency died in an automobile accident in Iran during a tour to inspect nuclear facilities.

A vehicle carrying two IAEA staff on a mission near the Khondab complex in the western Markazi province flipped over, the Fars agency said yesterday, citing a statement by Iran’s atomic energy organization. The second person, a Slovak national, was hospitalized, according to the Iranian Students News Agency.

South Korea’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement yesterday that a 58-year-old national with the last name Seo died in a car accident in Iran at about 11 a.m. local time while traveling from Tehran to the city of Arak, Markazi’s capital and the site of one of Iran’s nuclear sites. The vehicle suddenly lost control and veered off the road, the ministry said today in another statement.

The accident occurred before a meeting next week between Iranian officials and the IAEA in Vienna and another later this month with world powers aimed at resolving a standoff over Iran’s nuclear program. The U.S. and its allies say they are concerned that the Iranian government may develop nuclear weapons. Iran says its activities are aimed at generating electricity and for medical research.

Israeli Threats

The IAEA is in touch with the Iranian authorities and with the inspectors’ families, it said in an e-mailed statement. The agency gave no further details of what happened.

Threats by Israel and the U.S. to carry out air strikes on Iranian nuclear installations, and Iranian pledges to retaliate, helped push Brent crude prices to about $126 a barrel in March, the highest in more than 3 1/2 years.

Prices have declined since Iran and the world powers broke a 15-month stalemate on the nuclear conflict during talks on April 14 in Istanbul. Another round is scheduled for Baghdad on May 23.

Crude oil for June delivery fell as much as 66 cents to $96.35 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange and was at $96.51 at 3:10 p.m. Singapore time. Odds compiled by that Israel or the U.S. will strike Iran by the end of this year dropped to about 23 percent yesterday from 33 percent at the end of March and as high as 62 percent in February.

Iran is a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and its facilities are under IAEA supervision.

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