|Dr. Alon Levdowitz|
"The most disturbing question is whether the Iranians are using North Korea as a backdoor plan for their own nuclear program. The Iranians didn't carry out a nuclear test in Iran, but they may have done so in North Korea," Levkowitz said. During North Korea's previous two nuclear detonations, Iranian nuclear scientists were present, he said.
North Korea Upgrading, Possibly with Iran's Help
North Korea is upgrading one of its two major missile launch sites, apparently to handle much bigger rockets, and some design features suggest it is getting help from Iran, a U.S. research institute said Thursday. An analysis written for "38 North," the website of the U.S.-Korea Institute at Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, indicates that North Korea has made significant progress since October in constructing a new launchpad and other facilities at Tonghae.
The assessment, based on commercial satellite photos, says design features, including a flame trench covering that protects large rockets from the hot exhaust gases they emit on takeoff, is similar to one at a launch complex in Semnan, Iran, and hasn't been used by North Korea before.
Why Iran Already Has the Bomb - Lee Smith
If North Korea has the bomb, then for all practical purposes Iran does, too. Consider the history of extensive North Korean-Iranian cooperation on a host of military and defense issues, including ballistic missiles and nuclear development. "The North Koreans have been cooperating with Iran for about a decade on nuclear and missile issues, and the Iranians have several full-time weapons engineers on site in North Korea," said Henry Sokolski, executive director of the Nonproliferation Policy Education Center in Washington, D.C.
Cooperation includes North Korean sales of technology and arms, like the BM-25, a missile capable of carrying a nuclear warhead and reaching Western Europe. Iran's Shahab 3 missile is based on North Korea's Nodong-1 and is able to reach Israel.
As one senior U.S. official told the New York Times, "the North Koreans are testing for two countries." If Tehran has paid for access to North Korea's program, it will also pay for a bomb. At this point, it could be only a matter of haggling over the price.
The widespread belief is that the North Koreans tested an enriched uranium device this time, while the first two tests used plutonium. Some experts suspect that if the bomb detonated Tuesday was using enriched uranium, this is yet another piece of evidence that Iran is likely "using North Korea as a backdoor plan for their own nuclear program."
The writer is a fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.
Iran-North Korea Pact Draws Concern - Jay Solomon
Obama administration officials are raising alarms about a scientific-cooperation pact between North Korea and Iran that officials said could advance the nuclear and missile programs of both countries. The agreement, reached in September, bears a close resemblance to one North Korea signed with Syria in 2002. Washington is concerned that the two military allies will seek to use the agreement to advance their nuclear capabilities, just as they have jointly developed missile systems, according to U.S. and UN officials.
North Korea has emerged as a principal supplier of missile components to Tehran. Iran's medium-range Shahab-3 missile is based on the design of North Korea's Nodong-1. North Korea could provide Iran with a range of supplies for its nuclear program, including uranium ore, centrifuge machines and enriched uranium. Pyongyang also is seen as being ahead of Iran in developing the technologies needed to place an atomic warhead on a missile.
(Wall Street Journal)