March 18, 2013 | Quote
Iran-North Korea’s ‘Axis of Evil’ Revived By New Nuclear Ties
The axis of evil is alive and well, but few people have been paying attention.
Instead, Libya, the Arab Spring and the uprising in Syria hogged the spotlight. But out of the headlines, rogue nuclear powers North Korea and Iran have been cozying up and strengthening their ties.
Their shadowy relationship came into clearer focus last year during the Non-Aligned Movement summit (its irony-free motto: “Lasting peace through joint global governance”), held in Tehran. While many of those in attendance were Iranian stooges, the meeting was given superficial credibility by Ban Ki-moon, the UN secretary general, and U.S. allies Saudi Arabia and Bahrain.
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the Iranian president, and North Korea’s No. 2 official, Kim Yong-nam, seized the opportunity to agree to an exchange of science technology and education. It sounds anodyne, but experts say it’s code for nuclear work.
They point out North Korea is rich in raw uranium and other natural resources necessary for building nuclear weapons. It also has the scientific know-how and centrifuge technology to share with its partner Iran.
The latest deal also has alarming echoes of a Syria-North Korea pact, which led to the building of a clandestine copy of the North’s Yongbyon reactor. This could have produced plutonium, the fuel used in atomic weapons, but was destroyed by an Israeli airstrike before start-up.
At Forbes magazine, Claudia Rosett says Iranian nuclear officials are known to have made frequent visits to North Korea.
The real, deadly serious business of North Korea can better be discerned by focusing on its dealings with its fellow rogue state and longtime partner in proliferation, Iran …
Following North Korea’s latest nuclear test, a spate of international press reports claimed that Iranian officials had traveled to North Korea to witness the test. To date, there has been no official confirmation from any quarter of these accounts, which were sourced to unnamed intelligence or diplomatic personnel. But are they credible? Yes, in spades. Experts on North Korean proliferation, such as former defence intelligence analyst Bruce Bechtol, say that Iranians have been present at every previous major North Korean missile and nuclear test.