Iran continues to strenuously deny it wants nuclear weapons or is actively pursuing them. Yet the evidence continues to say the exact opposite. Now there are new and credible reports that Iran is working closely with North Korea to join develop The Bomb, and that the recent North Korean nuclear weapons test was done in close coordination with Iran, even with Iranian nuclear officials present to observe the test.
“Iran’s leading nuclear scientist, Mohsen Fakhrizadeh Mahabadi, is believed to have travelled to North Korea to observe its third nuclear test last week, according to western intelligence sources,” reports the Sunday Times of London.
“Fakhrizadeh-Mahabadi has ventured outside Iran rarely, if at all, since several Iranian nuclear scientists were assassinated in attacks blamed by Tehran on the Israeli intelligence service Mossad,” reports the Times. “He is in charge of developing a warhead small enough to fit on to one of the ballistic missiles developed by Iran from North Korean prototypes, the sources said. His trip may have been worth the risk because North Korea’s triumphant announcement of the blast hinted that it was a compact, powerful device.”
In my novels, The Twelfth Imam and The Tehran Initiative, I paint a fictional account of Iran buying missiles and nuke plans from North Korea, and poring over data from North Korean nuclear bomb tests to assist and accelerate their own development of The Bomb. However, there is a growing stream of hard reporting and expert analysis that this is not fiction, that Iran and North Korea are, in fact, working very closely on ballistic missile development and on the development of nuclear weapons.
“No country is more interested in the results of the North’s nuclear program, or the Western reaction, than Iran, which is pursuing its own uranium enrichment program,” the New York Times reported on February 11. “The two countries have long cooperated on missile technology, and many intelligence officials believe they share nuclear knowledge as well, though so far there is no hard evidence. The Iranians are also pursuing uranium enrichment, and one senior American official said two weeks ago that ‘it’s very possible that the North Koreans are testing for two countries.’ Some believe that the country may have been planning two simultaneous tests, but it could take time to sort out the data.”
Consider a handful of related stories:
- Iran, North Korea sign agreement on scientific, academic, technological cooperation — The Islamic Republic of Iran and North Korea on Saturday signed a document on expansion of mutual cooperation in scientific, academic and technological know-how between the two countries. (Islamic Republic News Agency, IRNA)
- Iranian officials ‘observed North Korean rocket launch’ — A dozen officials from Iran’s controversial ballistic missiles programme were present in North Korea last week to witness the failed rocket launch, according to reports. (UK Telegraph)
- “Very possible” that the North Koreans are testing nuclear bombs for Iran, says U.S. official.
- Analysis: Pyongyang nuke test may also be Iranian — Expert warns Tehran may be bypassing int’l inspections via North Korea, says Iranian scientists may have been present at test. (Jerusalem Post)
- Analysis: Why Iran Already Has the Bomb — If North Korea has the bomb, as this week’s nuclear test indicated, then for all practical purposes, so does Iran. (The Tablet)
- Iranians in North Korea? (Jeffrey Lewis, Director of the East Asia Nonproliferation Program at the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies at the Monterey Institute of International Studies. Dr. Lewis also founded and maintains the leading blog on nuclear arms control and nonproliferation, ArmsControlWonk.com.)