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Thread: Report: North Korea Helping Iran Plan Nuclear Test

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    Default Report: North Korea Helping Iran Plan Nuclear Test

    Report: North Korea Helping Iran Plan Nuclear Test
    As part of their ongoing nuclear program, Iran may have entered into an agreement with North Korea in an attempt to tap into the renegade state's nuclear weapons capability, a senior European defense official told the Telegraph.

    In the understanding, North Korea said it would divulge to Iranian scientists information garnered from its successful secret test back in October.

    The senior official, whose name was not disclosed, said Iranian scientists were invited to study the results of North Korea’s underground test to aid Tehran’s own preparations.

    The United States and some of its allies have long accused Tehran of trying to develop nuclear weapons. Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad denies this, saying his country's program is only to produce electricity from nuclear sources.

    Last month, the U.N. Security Council imposed limited trade sanctions on Iran because of its refusal to cease uranium enrichment, a process that produces the material for nuclear reactors or bombs.

    But the report said Iran may be planning to carry out a nuclear weapons test by year’s end.

    “The Iranians are working closely with the North Koreans to study the results of last year's North Korean nuclear bomb test," the European defense official told the Telegraph.

    Iranian military advisers regularly visit North Korea to participate in missile tests, the Telegraph reported.

    "All the indications are that the Iranians are working hard to prepare for their own underground nuclear test," the official said.

    No action was taken against North Korea following its test, an occurrence that may have encouraged the Iranians in their nuclear test planning.

    But this latest supposed nuclear cooperation comes as the United States has sent a second aircraft carrier to the Persian Gulf, reportedly as a warning to Iran, which continues to defy Western pressure to halt its nuke pursuits amid the U.N.-imposed sanctions.

    The aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis and accompanying warships have been sent to the Gulf as part of a buildup of forces that U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates has said is aimed to impress on Iran that American power in the Middle East has not been weakened by the war in Iraq.

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    Default Re: Report: North Korea Helping Iran Plan Nuclear Test

    Concerns grow over missile links between N. Korea, Iran
    The Korea Herald ^ | 28JAN07 | Jin Dae-woong

    International concerns are growing over reported links between North Korea and Iran and their possible collaboration in the proliferation in weapons of mass destruction.

    Western media reports recently highlighted fastening ties between the two "axis of evil" countries in the fields of missile and nuclear development.

    The Daily Telegraph, a British newspaper, reported last Wednesday that North Korea has agreed to share all data from its nuclear test last year with Iran to help the latter prepare for its own underground nuclear test by the end of this year.

    Citing an unidentified senior European defense official, the London-based newspaper said Pyongyang has invited a team of Iranian nuclear scientists to visit the North's nuclear facilities.

    The North detonated its atomic device on Oct. 9 last year in its first-ever underground nuclear weapons test. The international community believes that Teheran is also pushing ahead with its own nuclear weapons program.

    Both countries are facing strong international pressure over their apparent pursuit of independent nuclear capabilities, a policy which runs counter to international non-proliferation efforts.

    Earlier this month, North Korea's official Central News Agency said an Iranian Foreign Ministry delegation led by Vice Minister Mahdi Safari visited Pyongyang to sign a three-year accord on bilateral scientific exchanges. But the news agency did not elaborate of specific details of the cooperation.

    Pyongyang on Saturday responded to international concerns by lambasting reports of stepped up nuclear cooperation with Tehran, saying they are damaging the country's reputation.

    "Their assertion is nothing but a sheer lie and fabrication intended to tarnish the image of the DPRK by charging it with 'nuclear proliferation,'" the KCNA said, quoting an unnamed Foreign Ministry spokesman.

    DPRK is the acronym of North Korea's official name, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.

    "As solemnly declared more than once by the DPRK, it will continue to sincerely honor the duty it had assumed before the international community in the field of nuclear nonproliferation as a responsible nuclear weapons state," the spokesman said.

    The North's strong denial came as a new round of six-nation talks to tackle the communist regime's nuclear ambitions are about to resume in Beijing. The renewed negotiations, comprising the United States, China, Japan, Russia, South and North Korea, are expected to open around Feb. 8, officials said, after the previous round in December ended without progress.

    Experts indicate the claims of nuclear ties between the two countries are based on rather ambiguous grounds.

    They point out that North Korea's nuclear weapons program is known to use plutonium, although Washington suspects that Pyongyang also has an enriched uranium program. Meanwhile, Iran's program is based on a uranium fuel reactor, they said.

    Despite a nebulous link in the atomic field, however, the two countries have shown more evident moves in cooperating on missile development.

    A U.S. Congressional Research Service report recently said North Korea had shipped to Iran 18 units of the 2,700 kilometer-range BM-25 ballistic missile which are believed to be capable of carrying a nuclear warhead. The report issued in November 2006 cited Israeli military intelligence, emphasizing its concerns over missile development ties between Pyongyang and Teheran.

    More recently, the U.S.-based Aviation Week & Space Technology magazine reported in its Jan. 29 issue that Iran has modified one of its most powerful ballistic missiles into a satellite launch vehicle, suspecting North Korea's involvement in the Iranian space program.

    Citing U.S. agencies, the magazine said the 30-ton rocket is believed to be a derivation of either of two missiles; the 1,500-1,800 kilometer-range, liquid-propellant Shahab-3 missile or the solid propellant 3,200 kilometer-range Ghadar-110 missile.

    The report said if it is the Shahab 3, it would be a clone of North Korea's long-range Taepodong-2 ballistic missile that failed in a launch attempt by Pyongyang last year.

    The new space launcher and ongoing missile development highlights close technological ties between the Iranian and North Korean missiles programs, the report said citing intelligence agencies.

    On July 5 last year, North Korea test-fired its new intercontinental Taepodong-2 missile, stunning regional countries including Japan. Although the test proved to be a failure with the early crash of the missile, Japan and the United States are accelerating plans to build missile defense system to counter the missile threat.

    Iran's Shahab 3 and Ghadar-110 missiles are also raising threats to regional countries as they could strike anywhere in Israel, Saudi Arabia, the entire Persian Gulf region and as far west as southern Turkey.
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