North Korea's Takeaway From The Iran Nuclear Talks
In defense of the Iran nuclear talks, Obama administration officials have made a number of unlikely claims, including the repeated proposition that under the current Tehran regime Iran’s nuclear program could be transformed into something “exclusively peaceful.” But one of the most bizarre statements yet came just last weekend from Secretary of State John Kerry. Speaking to reporters in Beijing, Kerry said he hopes an Iran nuclear deal could have a “positive influence” on North Korea.
Seriously? To whatever extent the past 15 months of Iran talks have had any effect so far on North Korea’s behavior, it’s hard to discern anything positive. Actually, it’s impossible. Over the past few weeks alone, North Korea has hyped its program for submarine-launched missiles, threatened to fire without warning on South Korean ships in disputed waters, threatened America’s ambassador to Seoul with a “bigger mishap” than the knife attack he suffered in March, and bragged of having already succeeded in miniaturizing nuclear warheads — which would allow for missile delivery of nuclear bombs.
It might be tempting to write off a lot of this activity as bluster. North Korea’s state-released photos of Kim Jong Un watching a submarine missile launch appear to have been doctored to suggest a program more advanced than whatever North Korea currently has. But consider the larger picture.
Since the Nov. 2013 announcement of the Joint Plan of Action that launched the Iran nuclear talks, North Korea has prepared its Punggye-ri nuclear test site for another detonation and used the United Nations press podium to put the world on notice to expect a fourth nuclear test, possibly of a new kind. At the U.N., North Korea this February served notice, via a letter from its ambassador to the Security Council, that the U.S. “should be mindful that the time of nightmare is coming nearer when they will meet the most disastrous, final doom on the U.S. mainland.”