Iran–North Korea: cooperation in nuclear missiles?
In North-West of North Korea the installation of all of the three stages of the long-range rocket was completed at the launch platform of the firing ground. A source in the South Korean government announced that news to the journalists today. Pyongyang has earlier announced that it plans to put into orbit a satellite. However, the South Korean news agency Yonhap reminds its audience that many countries are sure that North Korea is really planning to test it intercontinental ballistic missile able to carry a nuclear warhead. Practically simultaneously the Japanese news agency Kyodo announced that Iran sent a group of military specialists to North Korea for a joint testing of the new ballistic missiles.
The Moscow bureau of the Japanese news agency swore that the information about the visit of the Iranian military specialists to DPRK had been received from reliable diplomatic sources. Many experts believe that the rocket testing in DPRK are in fact secret testing of ballistic technologies, which is prohibited to North Korea by a special UN Security Council resolution.
It is possible that the visit of the Iranian missile specialists is related to that alleged launch. The Iranian military engineers visited DPRK during the unsuccessful launch of the Unha-3 rocket last April. And now in December the Iranians will once again witness the process of preparation for the launch of the same rocket model.
On September 1 this year in Teheran Iran and DPRK signed a treaty on the scientific and technical cooperation. There is no information about the specific directions of that cooperation. But the history of the relations between Pyongyang and Teheran in such sensitive areas of «science and technology» as rocket construction and nuclear studies gives some food for thought.
The Soviet rocket Skad with which the DPRK Army is equipped as well as its North Korean “children” and “grandchildren” served as the springboard for the development of the Iranian rocket technologies and rocket construction as a whole. According to general estimates, in 1991-94 Iran received about 300 Skad rockets of B and C versions from DPRK. And in 1997 Iran launched its own production of a modification of that rocket under the name “Shahab-1” (range of 300 km) and “Shahab-2” (range of 500 km) with the equipment from North Korea. The new rocket “Shahab-3” with the range of 1800 km was based on the North Korean “Nodong-1” rocket. Experts believe that those rockets were designed in DPRK with the financial assistance from Iran. Also, in 2009 it was announced that a group of Iranian experts was sent to North Korea to work on the rocket of the “Taepodong -2” class with the range of 4 000 km.
A tight cooperation between Teheran and Pyongyang is not limited to rocket construction. Iranian nuclear specialists were present at all nuclear tests conducted by North Korea beginning with year 2006.
The following fact is both interesting and demonstrative. The North Korean nuclear program is based on the Plutonium variant, while the Iranian nuclear program is based on Uranium. Naturally, the North Korean testing was based on the Plutonium variant. And suddenly in 2010 according to the reports of the German Die Welt newspaper that referred to a US intelligence source DPRK conducted tests based on the enriched uranium that the Iranian nuclear program is based on. If that report reflects the reality, it means that the Iranian-North Korean cooperation has reached unusual heights. It is worth mentioning that North Korea has already been blamed for helping other countries in the area f nuclear research.
Here is the opinion of Vladimir Yevseev, a military expert and director of the Russian center of social and political studies:
"Iran and North Korea have a lot in common. Both countries are under international sanction due to ignoring the requirements of the UN and IAEA in the nuclear and rocket construction areas. North Korea has moved far in rockets and in nuclear studies. And Iran has prepared sufficiently qualified personnel and has created a good technological base including with the help of the North Korean experience. Especially given the fact that Iran due to its oil revenues has significant financial capabilities (even despite the sanctions), which are limited in North Korea's case. That is why these two countries that have difficulties in dealing with the rest of the world are very much interested in each other."
During the September visit of the North Korean delegation to Teheran Iranian top leader ayatollah Khamenei announced that «both countries must reach the goals they pose to themselves despite the pressure and the sanctions from the enemy forces». What exactly goals did he mean? – this question is now bothering many people. And the upcoming attempt to launch the North Korean rocket only attracts additional attention to that subject.