After Bomb Test, North Korea, Iran Continue Illicit Nuke Cooperation
After test explosion, lawmakers, experts warn of illicit nuclear axis
One day after North Korea claimed to have successfully tested a miniaturized hydrogen bomb, lawmakers and regional experts are warning that Pyongyang and Tehran are continuing an illicit clandestine partnership enabling the rogue nations to master nuclear technology.
Loopholes in the nuclear pact recently reached between Iran and the international community have allowed the Islamic Republic and North Korea to boost their nuclear cooperation, which includes the exchange of information and technology, according to material provided to Congress over the past year.
Iran is believed to be housing some of its key nuclear weapons-related technology in North Korea in order to avoid detection by international inspectors. Iranian dissidents once tied to the regime havedisclosed that both countries have consulted on a nuclear warhead.
Following the test, however, the White House publicly denied that Iran and North Korea are working together, according to multiple statements issued by the administration on Wednesday.
Still, the Iranian-North Korean nuclear axis is coming under renewed scrutiny by lawmakers in light of Pyongyang’s most recent detonation, which is the fourth of its kind in recent years.
Congressional critics now warn that the Obama administration cannot be trusted to clamp down on North Korea given its recent efforts to appease Iran by dropping a new set of sanctions that were meant to target its illicit ballistic weapons program.
Iran, on the other hand, thinks that the bomb test will give it “media breathing space” by drawing attention away from its own nuclear pursuits, according to Persian-language reports carried by state-controlled media outlets closely aligned with the country’s Revolutionary Guards Corps.
“The entire world may well consider North Korea a failed state, but from the view point of the [Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps], North Korea is a success story and a role model: A state which remains true to its revolutionary beliefs and defies the Global Arrogance,” said Ali Alfoneh, an expert on the inner workings of the Iranian regime.
Prominent members of Congress are now warning that North Korea’s latest nuclear test is a sign of what could come from Iran, which they claim is closely following the North Korean nuclear playbook.