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Iran - DPRK Relations

The regimes in North Korea and Iran are in no near-term danger of collapsing. The prospect of persuading either Iran or North Korea to give up their nuclear weapons-related activities and longe-range missile programs is slim to none. Both countries have well founded fears of existntial threats from the United States.

The main thing the two countries have in common is taking a stand against the United States. This has led the two countries to work closely together on nuclear and missile technology. The most important issue between the two countries is the struggle against US imperialist strategies around the world, which has led both countries to work closely together, regardless of cultural or political differences. The imposition of US economic sanctions on both countries is another issue that has brought Iran and North Korea closer together.

North Korea is a nuclear country that has made good progress in the production of various weapons, and Iran is one of the most important producers of oil and energy that North Korea desperately needs. This has led to scientific collaborations. Iran and North Korea have maintained close cooperation in the framework of a long-range missile project that is capable of carrying a nuclear warhead. Regardless of what may be happening, transfers between the two countries will be closely monitored; However, due to their ability to make undetectable transfers through their neighboring territories and non-commercial flights in the same corridor, control will not be easy, and probably close to impossible.

Until 1972, Iran had no diplomatic relations with North Korea as a communist state. April 19, 1973 Diplomatic relations begin at the embassy level between the two countries. More than 16 high-ranking Iranian delegations traveled to North Korea prior to the victory of the Iranian Islamic Revolution. North Korea was one of the first countries to recognize the Islamic Revolution of Iran in 1978, , supplying goods, weapons, and long-range missiles needed by Iran, and also buying Iranian oil. Since then relations between the two countries have always been growing. The two countries cooperate in various scientific, educational, cultural and military fields.

In 2012, Iranian and North Korean officials signed a memorandum of understanding to develop economic ties, technology communications and student exchanges, and agreed to expand technology cooperation. In 2015, the North Korean prime minister, who was visiting Iran, met with the head of the Iranian Red Crescent Society and asked Iran to help alleviate the drought in his country.

The two providetraining on issues related to missile cooperation and the production of military equipment between the two countries, and in return, Iran will meet North Korea's need for fuel and energy by exporting oil and its derivatives. This common need has led to the fact that despite the limited economic relations between the two countries, Tehran and Pyongyang have always viewed these relations as a strategic partnership, and its economic dimensions are less important. For this reason, in recent years, the issue of increasing the volume and variety of trade in the form of purity of goods has been considered by both countries.

Iran and North Korea have always had close relations in the post-revolutionary years, and the most important factor in this closeness has been the fight against the United States. At the same time, both countries have had the lowest level of relations with Washington over the years due to US sanctions. At the same time, the two countries do not have good experiences due to US obligations under the same limited relations with Washington.

Another point is that the US problem with neither of these two countries is not affected by their bilateral relations. In other words, the reason for America's enmity with Iran is issues beyond Tehran-Pyongyang relations. On the other hand, the reason for the White House's enmity with North Korea has its roots in the period of the division of Korea between the United States and the Soviet Union, which was years before the Islamic Revolution. So perhaps the question is, if each of the two countries's relations with the United States improves, might Tehran and Pyongyang distance themselves and prefer a relationship with the United States to a forty-year-old friend?

In this regard, it seems that despite the meeting of the leaders of the United States and North Korea or the whispers of possible negotiations between Iran and the United States, the wall of mistrust between these countries and the United States is so high that it is unlikely to collapse soon. And neither side of the game will easily fall short of their positions.

Tehran and Pyongyang each have different issues and interests that are pursued independently of each other, and the victory of one country does not necessarily mean the loss of another. However, given the US extravagance to gain maximum concessions from the parties regardless of the interests of Tehran and Pyongyang, it seems that these limited Iran-North Korea relations far outweigh the US promises of the two countries.

Since 1979, the United States has shown particular concern and sensitivity to the Iran-North Korea relationship and the sale of nuclear technology. Hostility to the United States is a significant chapter that has strengthened bilateral relations and increased security, military, and economic cooperation to counter pressure and sanctions from Washington and its allies.

The long history of secret cooperation between Iran and North Korea in violation of international law stretches back for decades. North Korea's chief role in that partnership has been as a munitions back shop for the Islamic Republic. North Korea first sold Iran ballistic missiles during the 1980s during Iran's war with Iraq. By the end of the 1980s, North Korea and China were supplying Iran with about 70 percent of its arms. Move to the 1990s, and Iran and North Korea had moved onto working together to develop long-range ballistic missiles. North Korean long-range ballistic missiles became the basis for the Iranian Shahab missile series, which currently threatens Israel, other Middle East allies, and even Central Europe.

Iran's Shahab-3 intermediate-range missile is a twin of the Nodong, developed with considerable North Korean assistance. Nodong nuclear warheads are compatible with the Shahab-3. A North Korean-Iranian agreement to share Nodong nuclear warheads is a near certainty. North Korea and Iran have had successful sea and air clandestine transportation networks. There have been few interdictions of these networks. The transfer of Nodong warheads from North Korea to Iran would have a good chance of success. Iran would have a secret stockpile of nuclear warheads that it could unveil at any time of its own choosing and thus present the United States, Israel, and the rest of the world with a fait accompli.

The Supreme Leader of Iran, Ali Khamenei, went to visit the founding tyrant of North Korea in 1989, and they both celebrated in Pyongyang together their shared hostility to the US. One of the first meetings that Iranian's nuclear negotiator, Javad Zarif, had in Iran after the first round of nuclear talks in Vienna in 2014 was with a North Korean envoy.

The US intelligence community has said that missile cooperation between Iran and North Korea has provided Iran with an increase in its military capabilities. By the beginning of the 2000s, the Iranians were giving North Korea sensitive data from their own missile tests to improve the North Korean missile systems. In fact, Iranian officials have been present at nearly every major North Korean missile test. This history of very close cooperation on ballistic missiles only has the potential to grow and deepen. Iran will be able to work on its ballistic missile system. Iran was able to achieve so much in secret, thanks to its North Korean allies.

There is a growing evidence that Iran and North Korea have not only been cooperating on missile programs but also in the nuclear field. The media reports, as far as back as 1993, that there are indications that the Iranians financed North Korea's nuclear program with $500 million in return for nuclear technology. South Korean news outlets rang the alarm in 2011 alleging that hundreds of North Korean nuclear and missile experts were working in Iran. One of those places that had North Korean experts working in it was Natanz, a nuclear facility where centrifuges will continue to enrich uranium under the nuclear deal.

North Korea helped Iran's client state Syria build a reactor that was under construction for years before it was discovered and destroyed in 2007 by an Israeli air strike. It beggars belief that Syria dared do that without Iran playing some part in it.

After 2011, there was a reverse flow from Iran into North Korea, expanding Iranian investment of personnel and money in North Korea's domestic nuclear and missile programs. Iranian missile scientists were stationed in North Korea for a large part of 2012, well into 2013, to assist North Korea in preparing for that successful 2012 long-range missile test. And Representative Mike Rogers, then chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, was quoted in November 2013 that Iran and North Korea were working together to test engines for inter-continental ballistic missile.

Iranian defectors have also revealed a long history of North Korean experts working on the Iranian nuclear program. Just like with the missile program, Iranian officials have attended nearly every North Korean nuclear test, gleaning important information to improve their nuclear program. In 2015 nuclear expert delegations from North Korea had traveled to Iran three times. The delegations allegedly met with Iranian officials responsible for nuclear warhead design. These visits occurred as Iran was buckling under a serious sanctions regime.

The British weekly The Telegraph quoted by British officials on Sunday; The development of North Korea's nuclear weapons stems from Iran's covert support. "It is hard to believe that they (North Korea) did it on their own," senior British officials told the Sunday Telegraph, according to the report. According to the Sunday Telegraph, Iran and Russia are among the countries suspected of collaborating with and assisting North Korea. Such a claim has been made before, but in a different way. Four years ago (April 2013), during the Iran nuclear talks, some news and political circles cited a North Korean nuclear test with enriched uranium without any evidence and claimed that North Korea has nuclear cooperation with Iran in this regard.

"The United States is concerned about North Korea's nuclear activities and its cooperation with Iran, " the Washington Post quoted a former political official in the Barack Obama administration as saying. "The North Korean government claims it has nuclear warheads that it can mount on its short-range missiles," the Wall Street Journal reported, noting that Iran could not secretly build a nuclear bomb . If this claim is true, placing these warheads on Iran's Shahab missiles, which are copies of the Korean model, could pose a major problem, while Iran has been cooperating with North Korea for more than ten years.

The induction of covert nuclear and missile cooperation between Iran and North Korea is also a claim that aims to justify the US crisis on the Korean Peninsula by covering up concerns about cooperation between Iran, North Korea and Russia. While the main cause of the crisis and the incitement of North Korea to unconventional approaches; The threats of the United States and its regional allies are against North Korea. Secretary of Defense Ash Carter stated in April 2015 that North Korea and Iran could be cooperating to develop a nuclear weapon, including sharing technology related to nuclear weapons, material production, or data from nuclear or explosives testing. But Gary Samore, the Obama administration's weapons co-ordinator, said there is still no evidence of Iran-North Korea cooperation on the nuclear program, And the Congressional Research Service concluded, "There is no evidence that Iran and North Korea have engaged in nuclear-related trade and cooperation." Nor would there be, since US intelligence had never detected anything that was successfully hidden.

The strong relationship between Iran and North Korea was forged in secrecy. The West does not know the full extent of their working together. A better understanding of the strategic alliance between Iran and North Korea highlights the inherent dangers of an Iranian nuclear program.

"Nim Dong, Pyongyang", the latest work by Reza Amirkhani, a travelogue to North Korea, has now reached its sixth edition, despite the closure of bookstores. North Korea has similarities to Iran due to long-term sanctions, and sometimes this similarities are highlighted amidst the jokes and jokes of the people; "One of the main questions of the Iranian audience is what is our relationship with North Korea?" Amirkhani told Khabar Online. My conscious effort was to say that we have no resemblance at all. There are similarities, and these few similarities are dangerous. In fact, prolonged sanctions allow people under sanctions to accept the situation. Acceptance of the embargo changes the individual. It seems that the question for all Iranian audiences was what does the long-term sanctions bring to our day? In North Korea, because the one-party structure is so strong, they think it is the same all over the world.

On 30 January 2017, Alaeddin Boroujerdi, the Chairman of the Iranian Parliament's National Security and Foreign Policy Commission, told North Korea’s Ambassador to Tehran Kang Sam Hyon that “Iran and North Korea are at a united front against interferences and bullying by America and its allies and they resist different kinds of pressures and sanctions imposed by the West on both countries.” In the meeting, Boroujerdi, who is also the head of the parliamentary friendship group of Iran and North Korea, urged that officials of the two countries, including lawmakers, should meet more often to discuss issues of mutual concern and strengthen ties. The Korean diplomat, according to the Iranian media, said that expanding ties with Tehran in the political, economic and defense arenas was among Pyongyang’s top priorities, and added: “America is the source of instability and insecurity in different parts of the world, and North Korea backs Iran’s positions to oppose America’s bullying and imperialistic interference.”

On 19 February 2017, Iranian Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani met with his North Korean counterpart Choe Thae-bok in Tehran and the two sides called for further strengthening ties between their countries. “Americans constantly want to pressure independent countries and they don’t want peace to be established in different regions,” Larijani told the North Korean official. “Therefore, the Islamic Republic’s approach is to create peace in the Middle East and the Korean peninsula. And we oppose the United States’ provocative actions in this regard,” he added. The Islamic Consultative Assembly News Agency (Iranian parliament’s official website) also quoted Thae-bok as stressing that close relations between Iran and North Korea would be instrumental in “neutralizing” Washington’s policies against the two countries.

Hamid Zadboom, head of the Trade Development Organization of Iran, and Han Sung-oh, North Korea's ambassador to Tehran, were present 01 September 2020 at the latest talks between the two sides, and the two sides spoke of the need to strengthen trade relations. In this meeting, Hamid Zadboom stated that the Trade Development Organization of Iran is responsible for foreign trade issues, and considered it necessary to strengthen and create a suitable environment for private companies to trade between the two countries. The North Korean ambassador also praised the Supreme Leader of the Revolution and the President of Iran and stressed the importance of solidarity between the two countries in the face of US sanctions and the development of economic, trade and cultural cooperation with Iran. He also praised the Islamic Republic of Iran's successful efforts to tackle both the corona issue and sanctions. Referring to the long-standing relations between Iran and Korea, the North Korean ambassador to Tehran called for more contacts and meetings to develop the level of economic cooperation between the two countries and suggested that the Iran Trade Development Organization and the North Korea Trade Development Committee establish a "joint trade committee". He added: "Due to the formation of this committee, the requests will be received in two markets and they will be answered in a joint cooperation." At the same time, the committee will follow up on all trade cooperation requirements, and committee meetings will be held periodically in Tehran and Pyongyang. The Director General of the Trade Development Organization of Iran, while appreciating the constructive opinions of the North Korean ambassador, called the formation of a joint trade committee. Special Representative for Iran and Venezuela Elliott Abrams stated 21 September 2020 " I am not going to get in again into classified information. As the exact views of the U.S. intelligence community of timelines for various pieces of Iran’s nuclear program, fissile material is one aspect but not the only aspect. ... We are very concerned about Iran’s cooperation with North Korea, again not too much I can really say about it here.... the Iranian ballistic missile development is really a dangerous thing for the region. And we have seen, for example, the Houthis using those missiles to attack Saudi Arabia. We will be watching the cooperation with North Korea very carefully and doing what we can to prevent it."

According to a Reuters report on 21 September 2020, an unnamed senior U.S. official was quoted as saying, "Iran and North Korea have resumed cooperation on a long-range missile project, including the transfer of critical parts." The official did not offer any details or evidence of the alleged project, but his remarks reinforce lingering speculation over the North's continued weapons development amid international sanctions.

The Financial Action Task Force, or FATF, cncluded its three day general assembly on 24 October 2020 and decided to keep North Korea and Iran on its blacklist, representing the toughest sanctions on non-cooperative countries regarding money laundering and terrorism funding. FATF President Marcus Pleyer said the two countries remain on the blacklist with their status unchanged. He urged all member nations and supervising authorities to apply effective response measures on the two countries. Pleyer also said that rules have been revised to better reflect the threat of weapons of mass destruction and help governments and financial firms identify financial risks and take appropriate measures. He said countries such as North Korea and their networks have grown smarter in evading sanctions, so authorities must also become smarter.

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Page last modified: 20-05-2022 17:50:46 ZULU