Red line already reached?
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.
In addition to provoking the West, North Korea’s nuclear test on Tuesday may have also been carried out on behalf of Iran, and in the presence of Iranian atomic scientists, a security expert warned on Tuesday.
North Korea is making progress both in its nuclear weapons capabilities and its ICBM missile research, Dr. Alon Levkowitz, coordinator of Bar-Ilan University’s Asian Studies Program and a member of the BESA Center for Strategic Studies, told The Jerusalem Post.
“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. “There is no official information on this… but Iran may have bypassed inspections via North Korea. If true, this is a very worrying development.”
Speaking to the Post in April, sources highly familiar with North Korea said a nuclear test was imminent, and that Iranian scientists could be present at the explosion site. During North Korea’s previous two nuclear detonations, Iranian nuclear scientists were present, according to several indicators, Levkowitz said.
It remains unclear whether the North Koreans detonated a plutonium- based nuclear device or one that was based on enriched uranium on Tuesday. The latter option would further suggest increased cooperation with Iran, he added.
“There is regular cooperation, since the 1980s, between North Korea and Iran. North Korea also helped set up a plutonium nuclear facility in Syria, which was bombed by Israel in 2007, according to foreign sources,” he said.
The feeble response by the international community to North Korea was due to China and Russia’s refusal to pass harsher binding UN Security Council resolutions, Levkowitz said, adding that this sent a worrying message to Iran. Tehran was learning that the international community would fail to monitor and prevent nuclear proliferation, and that consequences for blatant transgressions were mild, he added.