Posts Tagged 'North Korea'

“Report: North Korea also assisting Iran on plutonium reprocessing plant”

“Report: North Korea also assisting Iran on plutonium reprocessing plant”
August 27-31, 2009
     On August 14, the UAE seized a cargo ship destined for Iran that was carrying North Korean rocket launchers, detonators, and munitions for rocket-propelled grenades (Reuters). In an editorial, the UAE’s The National calls North Korea a “key supporter” of illicit nuclear programs, citing North Korea’s reported links to AQ Khan, the Syrian nuclear reactor destroyed by Israel in 2007, and the suspected nuclear program in Myanmar (The National). Donald Kirk wonders whether North Korea is continuing to ship missiles to Iran, pointing out that Iran has worked with North Korea on nuclear technologies before and is believed by some to be the biggest purchaser of North Korean weapons (Christian Science Monitor).
     In an earlier report, Japanese daily Sankei Shimbun writes that Iran has been receiving technical assistance from North Korea for over 2 years to build a reprocessing plant for producing plutonium. According to the report, which is based entirely on an unnamed source, Tehran has not yet decided to begin construction, but any such reprocessing plant would likely be built within a military base in order to avoid IAEA surveillance (Sankei Shimbun).
Reuters | The National | Christian Science Monitor | Sankei Shimbun (Japanese source)

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“Report: Iran officials observed North Korean nuclear and missile tests”

“Report: Iran officials observed North Korean nuclear and missile tests”
June 25, 2009
     Japanese daily Sankei Shimbun reports that 7 Iranian officials from the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran and the Revolutionary Guards were observers during North Korea’s missile and nuclear tests conducted in April and May, respectively. According to an unnamed source, the Iranian officials also watched a North Korean patrol ship enter South Korean waters in early June, possibly to explore methods of infiltrating enemy ships, and met with senior North Korean officials to discuss strategies for negotiating with the US and other foreign powers. The Iranian embassy in Tokyo denies any technical cooperation on missile or nuclear technologies between Iran and North Korea.
Sankei Shimbun (Japanese source)

“Despite missile cooperation, Iran and North Korea a study in contrasts”

“Despite missile cooperation, Iran and North Korea a study in contrasts”
June 12-16, 2009
     David Sanger describes the contrast between the US strategies of “overwhelming pressure” against North Korea, which is cornered and concerned primarily with survival, and diplomatic outreach toward Iran, which seeks a role as a regional power. Regarding the latter, Sanger warns that applying US strategist Dennis Ross’ “hybrid option”, which would combine diplomacy with economic pressure on Iran’s oil sector, could create more anti-US sentiment among Iranians protesting the recent election results (New York Times). US Missile Defense Agency head Patrick O’Reilly recently said that technical cooperation between Iran and North Korea has led to significant progress in the missile programs of both states (Reuters).
     In a May report on the effects of economic sanctions in combating nuclear proliferation, Matthew Levitt and Michael Jacobson write that while North Korea was successfully pressure by sanctions in 2005, Iran has circumvented “smart sanctions” targeting specific entities and the financial sector. The writers cite Iran’s use of re-export markets in the UAE and Malaysia to access Western technologies, its growing economic ties with China, and the inability of the EU and the UN to enforce and monitor the implementation of sanctions. The writers suggest that while the threat of sanctions may be effective in applying pressure on state such as Iran, the implementation of sanctions may simply lead states to develop countermeasures and alternative economic relationships rather than work toward a diplomatic solution (Jane’s).
New York Times | Reuters | Jane’s