Iranian scientists may attend N. Korea nuclear test
By YAAKOV LAPPIN
Dozen Iranian officials likely involved technically in recent missile test; tensions between North, South Korea soar.
North Korea will soon carry out a nuclear experiment and Iranian scientists
could be present at the explosion site, sources familiar with the issue told The
Jerusalem Post on Monday.
Iranian officials from the Shahid Hemmat
Industrial Group observed a failed North Korean rocket launch on April 13,
according to a report by the South Korean Yonhap news agency.
Seoul has neither confirmed nor denied the report, it believes that a delegation
of a dozen Iranian scientists may have been technically involved in North
Korea’s failed long-range rocket launch, which it said was a satellite
Now, the Islamic Republic may be planning a presence at North
Korea’s upcoming third nuclear test as well.
South Korean government
sources said on Sunday that North Korea appears to have completed preparations
for the test, and would need only to push a button to detonate an atomic bomb.
The test could come as soon
as the next couple weeks.
North Korea has tested two atomic bombs in
recent years, once in 2006 and again in 2009 – both times after it carried out
failed missile tests.
The North’s nuclear weapons program is mainly based
on plutonium, while Iran is mostly relying on uranium in its efforts to build a
bomb. Yet some analysts believe that Tehran may be pursuing a parallel secret
plutonium nuclear program. Similarly, North Korea is also known to have enriched
uranium through spinning centrifuges.
On April 15, North Korea exhibited
3-stage missiles at a military parade, which security analysts said were liquid-
fuel intermediate-range projectiles, putting US territory such as Hawaii or
Alaska within target range.
While some believed the missiles were
mock-ups, US and German defense experts said they believed the exhibitions were
closely based on actual missiles in North Korea’s possession.
missile program is based on North Korean missile engines.
Iranian presence and involvement comes as tensions between Seoul and the
totalitarian North Korea soared.
Pyongyang issued repeated threats this
month to carry out “special action” against South Korea and “to annihilate
reckless challenges from rebellious elements.”
The messages threatened to
“raze all sources of provocation to the ground with unprecedented special means
and our own methods” within three to four minutes.
“Do they still not
understand our determination to retaliate?” an official North Korean website
said this week, adding that “revolutionary forces never utter empty
South Korea is taking the threats seriously due to the fact that
Kim Jong-Un is a new leader and little is known about him. According to
assessments by South Korean military experts, an attack could take the form of
unmanned flying vehicles with explosives attached to them known as “suicide
drones,” rocket attacks such as those fired at the South last year, or terror
attacks on strategic sites such as power plants and water sites. Civilian
targets like subway systems could be also be attacked.
criticism and threats against South Korea have gone to extremes,” wrote Cheon
Soengwhun of the Seoul-based Korean Institute of National Unification, in a
recent paper. “It seems that words no longer matter and only actions are
Soengwhun stressed that the South Korean public heavily criticized
North Korea for pouring some 2 billion dollars – the equivalent of 30 percent of
its annual budget – into celebrations of its late leader’s birthday, while its
population starves and the country remains impoverished.
The paper noted
that South Korea’s Ministry of National Defense said it would “adamantly punish
North Korea in the case of its provocation.”
Last year, North Korea sunk
a South Korean naval corvette and shelled an island under South Korea’s control,
sparking fears of an all-out war.