Iranian scientists may attend N. Korea nuclear test (JERUSALEM POST) By YAAKOV LAPPIN 05/01/12)
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North Korea will soon carry out a nuclear experiment, and Iranian
scientists could be present at the explosion site, sources who are
familiar with the issue told The Jerusalem Post Monday.
Iranian officials from the Shahid Hemmat Industrial Group observed a
failed North Korean rocket launch on April 13, according to a report
by the South Korean Yonhap news agency.
Although Seoul has neither confirmed nor denied the report, it
believes that a delegation of a dozen Iranian scientists may have
been technically involved in North Korea´s failed long-range rocket
launch, which North Korea said was a satellite launch.
Now, the Islamic Republic may be planning a presence at North Korea´s
upcoming third nuclear test as well.
South Korea government sources said on Sunday that North Korea appears
to have completed preparations for the test, and would need only to
push a button to detonate an atomic bomb.
The test could come as soon as early to middle May.
North Korea has tested two atomic bombs in recent years, once in 2006
and again in 2009 - both times after it carried out failed missile
The North´s nuclear weapons program is mainly based on plutonium,
while Iran is mostly relying on uranium in its efforts to build a
bomb. Yet some analysts believe that Tehran may be pursuing a
parallel secret plutonium nuclear program. Similarly, North Korea is
also known to have enriched uranium through spinning centrifuges.
On April 15, North Korea exhibited 3-stage missiles at a military
parade, which security analysts said were liquid fuel intermediate
range projectiles, putting US territory such as Hawaii or Alaska
within target range. While some believed the missiles were mock-ups,
US and German defense experts said they believed the exhibitions were
closely based on actual missiles in North Korea´s possession.
Iran´s own missile program is based on North Korean missile engines.
The suspected Iranian presence and involvement comes as tensions
between the totalitarian North Korea and Seoul have soared. Pyongyang
has issued repeated threats this month to carry out "special action"
against South Korea and "to annihilate reckless challenges from
The messages threatened to "raze all sources of provocation to the
ground with unprecedented special means and our own methods" within
three to four minutes.
"Do they still not understand our determination to retaliate?" an
official North Korean website said this week, adding, "revolutionary
forces never utter empty words."
South Korea is taking the threats seriously due to the fact that Kim
Jong-Un is a new leader and little is known about him. According to
assessments by South Korean military experts, an attack could take
the form of ´suicide drones´ - unmanned flying vehicles with
explosives attached to them, rocket attacks such as those fired at
the South last year, or terror attacks on strategic sites such as
power plants and water sites. Civilian targets like subway systems
could be attacked.
"North Koreaís criticism and threats against South Korea have gone to
extremes," wrote Cheon Soengwhun, of the Seoul-based Korean Institute
of National Unification, in a recent paper. "It seems that words no
longer matter and only actions are left," he added.
Soengwhun stressed that the South Korean public heavily criticized
North Korea for pouring some 2 billion dollars - the equivalent of 30
percent of its annual budget - into celebrations of its late leader´s
birthday, while its population starves and the country remains
The paper noted that South Korea´s Ministry of National Defense said
it would "adamantly punish North Korea in the case of its
Last year, North Korea sunk a South Korean naval corvette and shelled
an island under South Korea´s control, sparking fears of an all-out
war. (© 1995-2011, The Jerusalem Post 05/01/12)
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