Iran atomic chief insists no deal with the DPRK made

iran-dprkmeetingNK News

Iran has “no nuclear relations” with North Korea, and rumours that it does are false, the head of the country’s Atomic Energy Organization (AEO) insisted on Tuesday.

Speaking to Iranian Students’ News Agency at a burial ceremony for two “unknown martyrs” at AEO headquarters, Ali Akbar Salehi denied the claims and said: “I don’t know why and how such rumours are produced”.  

His response comes after Tuesday’s news that an unnamed Western diplomat had told Kyodo News that Iranian and North Korean security officials made an agreement to cooperate further in the fields of nuclear and missile development in August.

The agreement, which was reached between the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps and a group of unnamed North Korean security officials, suggests that Iran and the DPRK will continue to cooperate in sensitive military areas, despite pronouncements by President Rouhani that Iran is seeking better ties with the West.

Leonid A. Petrov, a Korean studies expert at the Australian National University, told NK News that North Korea has “few friends and Iran suits best for this role”, so it was highly likely they had made a secret deal.

“Both regimes are under multilateral sanctions, both seek improved relations with the US,” he said, “but neither of them are ready for political reforms”.

“This leaves Pyongyang and Tehran with limited number of options,” Petrov continued, “where proliferation, abrogation of human rights, sponsorship of terrorism and anti-American rhetoric play central role”.

While no further information about the agreement was publicized, one North Korea watcher familiar with DPRK military affairs told NK News that cooperation between the two states – once viewed by George W. Bush as forming pillars of an “Axis of Evil” – was entirely possible.

“The two sides have cooperated on missiles and other weapons systems for decades” said Daniel Pinkston, a North Korea researcher at the International Crisis Group in Seoul.

“I have no proof, but there are several reasons to believe Iran and North Korea have cooperated on nuclear weapons too,” Pinkston added.

In August North Korean state media reported that a delegation led by Kim Yong Nam – President of the Supreme People’s Assembly – visited Iran for President Hassan Rouhani’s inauguration.

Kyodo said that while Kim Yong Nam was not known to have attended the meeting, security elements in the North Korean delegation made the agreement with Mohammad Ali Jafari, head of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps.

The Korea Central News Agency reported that Pak Kil Yon, vice-minister of Foreign Affairs, and a “other suite members” accompanied Kim on the August trip.

Iran and North Korea have a long history of diplomacy and are suspected to have cooperated on the development of both nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles.

Picture: : Iran President’s Office

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