ANALYSIS: Is Iran’s collusion with North Korea a nuclear threat to the world?

Tony Duheaume

Published: Updated:

With North Korean leader Kim Jung Un having announced the detonation of the DPRK’s fifth nuclear device on September 9, 2016, which was said to have been a miniaturized nuke capable of being fitted to a missile, it came close to a time when Iran had openly admitted that it was accelerating its missile development program, making both Iran’s and Korea’s programs to run almost parallel.

But as well as the detonation of a nuke, it also became apparent that a missile launched by North Korea toward Japan on 14 February, 2017, had a solid fuel engine, which in turn, made it fully road mobile, and much quicker to prepare for launch. The missile was also launched from a tractor-erector-launcher unit, which means it could be transported along roads or across rough terrain, and with it being driven to an undisclosed site, it would make it much harder for an enemy to detect.

At the same time, Kim Jung-Un also announced that by the end of 2017, his military will have tested a cruise missile that can reach the United States, and thus, with Iran’s program picking up momentum at the same pace as North Korea’s, it almost seems as though the two countries are in collusion with each other.

Considering the two nation’s statements came so close together, with both accelerating military programs which can cause mass devastation, it leaves a lot of speculation as to whether this is simply coincidental, or it had been planned well in advance. With so much talk about Iran having secret nukes in North Korea, the proof has always been there as far as the two countries past cooperation is concerned over each of their nuclear programs, and experience has shown; what North Korea has today, Iran has tomorrow, or visa versa.

Back to the 80s

North Korea has assisted the Iranian regime militarily since its early days in power. In 1981, when the Iranian’s opened a terrorist training camp at Manzarieh in northern Tehran, among the earliest trainers to arrive on site was a group of North Korean military personnel, and it was thanks to the brain washing techniques taught by these specialist trainers, Iran has been able to transform gullible recruits at its camps into lethal human bombs, and it went on to develop suicide terrorism into the lethal form of unconventional warfare we see today.

During the Iran/Iraq war, a conflict, which lasted from September 1980 to August 1988, Iran had taken a severe beating from the bombardment of Iraqi missiles raining down on its cities, and with the country being the subject of severe sanctions, arms were almost impossible to procure, and so its main missile supplier had been North Korea.

As hostilities intensified, in a war that eventually saw a body count of one million, North Korea found it impossible to keep pace with the supply of missiles needed by Iran for the battlefront. It was at this point, the Iranian regime came to realise its weaknesses in the air war, and was determined to build up its own missile capability, which would eventually lead to the regime achieving self-reliance through an indigenous production line.

It was in 1985, Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, who at the time head of Iran’s Parliament, signed an agreement to launch a cooperative missile and nuclear development program with North Korea, agreeing to fund the production of North Korea’s 300-kilometre-range Scud-B missiles, and also give financial support for its research and development program pursuing missile and nuclear technology, as well as the sharing of test data and weapons designs, which has continued throughout the decades.

During the 1990s, Iran and North Korea came together in the development of Iran’s Shahab medium range missile, which was almost identical to the North Korean Nodong, and had many of its components imported from North Korea. As the years went on, the two countries were said to have collaborated on many other missile systems, and together had produced Iran’s Shahab-3 and Shahab-4, and the longer Shahab-5 and Shahab-6.

Technology transfer

Then as far as the transfer of technology is concerned, the North Korean Hwasong-10, also known by the names BM-25 and Musudan, a mobile intermediate-range missile that was first on display during a military parade on October 2010, was seen to feature a triconic cone that was almost identical to that of Iran’s indigenously produced Ghadar-1.

But one thing that is really perturbing is how the Supreme Leader of Iran, Ali Khamenei, and the North Korean leader, Kim Jung Un, share the same intense hatred of the USA. On top of this, they have pursued an illicit nuclear program for decades, through which they have often shared technology to help each other out, with the endgame of producing nuclear weapons, as well as missiles capable of carrying them, and they now seem to be intent on developing an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), which is capable of carrying a nuclear warhead to reach the shores of the United States.

Over the years, with the two countries having worked together in all fields of missile and nuclear technology, some reports suggest that in 2006, an Iranian team was present when North Korea successfully tested a bomb at a secret underground location, and that a group of Iranian scientists were invited to study the results of the blast, which could be useful preparation for Tehran’s possible testing of its own device at some point in the future.

With the aid of North Korea, Iran has acquired the largest and most diverse ballistic missile arsenal in the Middle East, which makes the prospect of Iran obtaining a nuclear weapon even scarier, and with the two countries having shared so much technology in the fields of both nuclear weapons and missile development, it makes it all the more conceivable that North Korea could well be testing a bomb for Iran.

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad shakes hands with the president of the Presidium of North Korea’s Supreme People’s Assembly Kim Yong-nam, during a welcoming ceremony in Tehran, Iran, Saturday, Sept. 1, 2012. (AP)
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad shakes hands with the president of the Presidium of North Korea’s Supreme People’s Assembly Kim Yong-nam, during a welcoming ceremony in Tehran, Iran, Saturday, Sept. 1, 2012. (AP)

But to add to the fear, with the North Koreans having already tested five devices, the first in October 2006, which had produced a one kiloton explosion, the second in May 2009 which produced a four kiloton blast, the third in February 2013 which produced a yield of four kilotons, and a fourth device on 6 January 2016, which North Korea announced to be its first successful testing of a hydrogen bomb, although the weapon was not large enough to be a thermonuclear device, it could well have involved some nuclear fusion, but whichever the case, it had been enough to alarm the international community.

Then on September 9, 2016, North Korea announced its fifth detonation, it had an estimated yield of 10-kilotons, which it was claimed to be that of a nuclear warhead, and could be mounted on a ballistic missile.

The atomic bomb that was dropped on Hiroshima in 1945, had the yield of 15-kilitons, which meant that the North Koreans are fast on a path to meet this, and with its latest missile test on 12 Feb, 2017, having reached an altitude of 550 km (340 miles), and Kim Jung Un boasting that his military would have an ICBM by the end of 2017, and his further claim of being able to miniaturise a nuclear device, it has most definitely left Donald Trump with his first major headache as President of the United States.

Fissile material

It has been estimated that North Korea already has enough stocks of fissile material to construct at least twenty bombs, added to the fact that its boffins have the capacity to produce enough reserves of fissile material to produce in the region of six or seven WMDs a year, plus the fact that that the two regimes have been known to eagerly share each others technology, should either Kim Jung Un or his close trading partner Ali Khamenei end up being confronted by the U.S., they could in theory soon have an ICBM fitted with a nuclear device be ready to launch against it.

The Iran deal was no deterrent in stopping Iran from pursuing the test-firing of nuclear-capable missiles, as despite the regime denying its pursuit of nuclear weapons; it is still intent on developing missiles capable of carrying them.

Although the present missiles being tested are only presently able to strike short range, medium range, and intermediate-range targets, their long-term goal is to produce one with an intercontinental reach, which is close to fruition, and the Iran Deal has already given the regime billions of dollars to pursue this, as well as subsidise its impoverished partner to pursue its own nuclear agenda.

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