"Iran taps North Korean-educated man for top post

 

Iran North Korea: 

DPRK Is Ally of US Enemies in Middle East

 Nuclear, Missile, Arms & Engineering Sales

 for Hezbollah, click here; for Syria, here

 
North Korea has long sold weapons to Iran, a relationship which has reportedly developed into mutual development of missile and nuclear technology, along with North Korean support to Hezbollah (often spelled "Hizballah" by the U.S. government), the terrorist group and Iranian proxy force, and Hamas, rulers of the Gaza strip and practioneers of terrorism. North Korea has also sold its expertise in special operations and underground facilities, long used against U.S. and RoK forces in Korea, to these clients, helping Hezbollah achieve unexpected success in its 2006 war with Israel. The Iran North Korea relationship has also included Syria, and Pyongyang has had substantial dealings with Pakistan and Egypt, among others. In 2007, Israel bombed a covert nuclear plant Syria was building with North Korean help.
 
"Evidence appeared in the form of [open source reports of] several intercepted shipments of North Korean arms bound for Iran in 2009," the Congressional Research Service (CRS) reported in 2010. "Three vessels were intercepted, which contained North Korean weapons that Western intelligence and Israeli intelligence officials and non-government experts believe were bound for Hezbollah and Hamas, terrorist groups on the official U.S. list of international terrorist organizations. The largest of these shipments was aboard a ship that was searched in Dubai before departing for Iran in July 2009. All three ships contained North Korean components for 122 mm Grad rockets and rocket launchers. The shipment intercepted in Dubai contained 2,030 detonators for the Grad rockets and related electric circuits and solid fuel propellant for rockets. The 122 mm rockets have a range of about 25 miles. Iran, particularly the Iranian Revolutionary Guards, is known to have supplied significant quantities of these rockets and rocket launchers to Hezbollah and Hamas, which have frequently fired them into Israel." (CRS, "North Korea: Back on the Terrorism List?," June 29, 2010 -- see additional excerpts below; for the entire report and its citations, see the bottom of this page.)
 
The report went on to note that in late 2009, tons of North Korean weapons including rocker launchers and surface-to-air missle parts were interepted at a Thai airport, apparently on the way to Iran.
 
These reports are important to bear in mind as the United States increases pressure on Iran over its nuclear program. The Iranian/North Korean relationship may allow unexpectedly rapid development by one or both of the partners as they share information and best practices. In addition, it is known that both nations have highly sophisticated defenses against likely attack, from the U.S. and South Korea in the case of North Korea, and the U.S. and Israel in the case of Iran. However, the full extent of these defensive positions may be underestimated, especially by those unfamiliar with the sometimes astonishing capability of North Korea to create underground facilities, including factories and even airfields. The nation was subjected to massive bombing during the 1950-3 Korean War, and its leaders determined that they would do everything possible to reduce the importance of America's air superiority in any future campaign.
 
Finally, the strength of these nations in special operations and their potential cooperation in this arena as well certainly increases concerns about a competent and perhaps even surprising counter-attack in the event of preemptive action by the West, as well as the potential of even more sophisticated terrorist tactics.
 

For example, there is evidence North Korea has trained Iranian operators in advanced infiltration techniques honed in decades of operations against U.S. and South Korean forces in the Korean Demilitarized Zone (DMZ).

"Iran is one of North Korea's key missile customers. Since the late 1980s, the DPRK has exported complete Scud B and Scud C missiles to Iran, as well as their production technology. The Scud and other missile technology acquired from North Korea form the basis for the Iranian Shahab-3, which is based on North Korea's No Dong. North Korea has probably provided Iran an MRBM variant, called the BM-25, of its Musudan IRBM. This technology would provide Iran with more advanced missile technology than currently used in its Shahab-series of ballistic missiles and could form the basis for future Iranian missile and SLV designs. North Korea also provided assistance to Iran's SLV program. On February 2nd, Iran successfully orbited the Omid satellite, using its Safir SLV, the first stage of which was based on the Shahab-3 (No Dong). Pyongyang's assistance to Iran's SLV program suggests that North Korea and Iran may also be cooperating on the development of long-range ballistic missiles." State Department Cable, 10/14/2009 (WikiLeaks) 

North Korea Got Third of Hard Currency from

Arms Sales to Iran in Early 80s:

Aug 1984 declassified CIA Report from the KorCon Collection 

 

 

Missile "Joint Venture" with Iranian Revolutionary Guards

(Information below, to bottom of page, is from the the Congressional Research Service)

The State Department’s Fact Sheet of October 25, 2007, on Iranian entities involved in proliferation and terrorism support activities asserted that the Iranian Revolutionary Guard (IRG) was providing “material support” for the Taliban, Hezbollah, Hamas, Iraqi Shia militants, and other terrorist groups. In 2006, U.S. District Judge Royce Lambert issued a ruling that the IRG recruited people who attacked the U.S. military facility in Saudi Arabia, Khobar Towers, in 1996 and manufactured the bombs used in the attack. General David Petraeus and U.S. Ambassador to Iraq Ryan Crocker testified to Congress in 2008 that the IRG was directing and supporting the attacks of the Iraqi Shia “special groups” against U.S. and Iraqi military and government targets. Many reports describe a close relationship between the IRG and Hezbollah. The State Department’s Fact Sheet stated that the IRG has a “long history” of supporting Hezbollah with guidance, funding, weapons, intelligence and logistical support. Other reports describe IRG training of Hezbollah personnel in both Iran and Lebanon, the supply of missiles to Hezbollah by the IRG, IRG cadre in southern Lebanon directing Hezbollah’s development of military facilities (including missile sites), and IRG coordination of missile attacks against Israel during the 2006 Israel-Hezbollah war. The State Department’s Fact Sheet asserted that the IRG “has assisted Hizballah [Hezbollah] in rearming” since the 2006 war, presumably including the supply of new longer-range missiles described by the 2008 Israeli intelligence estimate. The State Department’s October 2007 Fact Sheet also described the IRG as heavily involved in Iran’s program to develop ballistic missiles. It said that the IRG is “one of the primary organizations tied to developing and testing the Shahab 3” missile (the Iranian version of North Korea’s Nodong missile) and that, as recently as 2006, the IRG was procuring “sophisticated and costly equipment that could be used to support Iran’s ballistic missile and nuclear programs.” The Iranian announcement of its tests of Shahab-class missiles, including the Shahab 3, on July 9-10, 2007, came from commanders of the IRG. North Korea’s relationship with the IRG appears to be in two areas: (1) coordination in support for Hezbollah and (2) cooperation in ballistic missile development. Reports also suggest that North Korea cooperates with the IRG and other Iranian entities in the development of nuclear capabilities or nuclear weapons. The relationship undoubtedly is financially lucrative to North Korea. Of North Korea’s estimated $1.5 billion in earnings from sales and proliferation of weapons overseas, a substantial portion of this undoubtedly is gained from collaboration from Iran in missile development. Collaboration in support of Hezbollah and in nuclear weapons development likely would add considerably to the earnings from collaborative missile programs. Given the close relationship between the IRG and Hezbollah, the IRG could have facilitated the North Korean training of Hezbollah personnel by North Korea in the late 1980s and 1990s, as discussed above. The Paris Intelligence Online report of September 7, 2006, describing the role of North Korean instructors in the construction of Hezbollah’s underground military installations in southern Lebanon in the period before the 2006 war, asserts that IRG General Mir Faysal Baqer Zadah supervised the construction of the underground facilities.101 Other reports describe IRG cadre in southern Lebanon prior to the 2006 war, as assisting in the building of underground military bases, including missile bases.102 The IRG reportedly has been the main supplier of missiles to Hezbollah. Thus, the reported utilization of North Korean components on these missiles prior to the 2006 war undoubtedly would have been coordinated between the IRG andNorth Korea as well as any North Korean components in the large number of missiles the IRG has supplied to Hezbollah since the war. Cooperation between North Korea and the IRG in the development of ballistic missiles appears to be of long standing. North Korea supplied Iran with Scud B and Scud C missiles after 1987. In 1993, the overall commander of the IRG, Major General Mohsen Rezaei, and IRG Brigadier General Hossein Mantiqi visited North Korea heading Iranian delegations. Another delegation, headed by Iran’s Defense Minister and reportedly including IRG officials, visited Pyongyang in December 1993. Press reports, citing statements by Central Intelligence Agency officials, described the goal of these missions as arranging for Iran’s purchase of up to 150 newly developed North Korean Nodong intermediate range missiles. North Korea first tested the missile in 1993. Paul Beaver, military expert for the Janes publications, said in an interview that the delegations negotiated an agreement with North Korea to establish a plant in Iran to produce the Nodongs. At that time, there reportedly were North Korean missile experts in Iran helping Iran to manufacture Scud missiles based on North Korean technology. Beaver’s assessment appears to have been correct. By 1997, there reportedly were North Korean missile experts in Iran working on the construction of Shahab 3 and Shahab 4 missiles, Iranian versions of the Nodong. Like the State Department’s October 2007 Fact Sheet, a 1997 London Daily Telegraph report stated that the IRG was directing the Shahab program.108 In November 1997, the IRG announced that it had conducted a successful test launch of a Shahab 3 prototype. A fully successful test flight of the Shahab 3 was conducted in 1998. North Korea reportedly continued to supply components for the Shahab 3. Recent reports indicate continuing North Korean-Iranian collaboration in trying to develop longer range ballistic missiles. A detailed report in the Los Angeles Times in August 2003 stated that “many North Koreans are working on nuclear and missile projects in Iran.” One report of March 2006 was issued by the National Council of Resistance of Iran, an exile opposition group. In 2002, the National Council had revealed correctly the existence of secret Iranian nuclear facilities at Natanz and Irak. Several subsequent claims of the National Council have not been verified, but the Iranian government places severe obstacles on the International Atomic Energy Agency and other international groups that could engage in verification work. The National Council’s March 2006 report asserted that North Korean experts were working at the Memot Missile Industries Complex in Iran in the development of an intermediate range missile with a range of 1,900 miles and in the continuing development of the Shahab 4 missile.112 Later in 2006, it was reported that North Korea had made an initial shipment to Iran of its new Musudan intermediate range missile. Subsequent reports cited 19 Musudan missiles supplied to Iran by North Korea. U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates stated in November 2007 that North Korea had supplied Iran with missiles with a range of 1,562 miles113 (probably the Musudan). North Korea and Iran reportedly carried out joint tests of the Musudan. In 2008, Iran and North Korea reportedly signed an agreement for the continued North Korean supply of Musudan technology to Iran. The Japanese Kyodo news agency reported in December 2009 that North Korea failed to supply Iran with electronic components for the Musudan in 2009, causing Iran to postpone a test launch of the missile.

Several publications reported the existence of a new Iranian missile research and development site that had the same appearance as North Korea’s Taepodong missile assembly facility inside North Korea. Several reports in 2009 described Iran seeking and receiving the assistance of North Korean missile technicians in preparing to launch a missile bearing an artificial satellite. The launch on February 2, 2009, was successful. A delegation of up to 15 Iranians, from the Shahid Hemmat Industrial Group (a company connected with the Iranian Revolutionary Guards also reportedly involved in the Musudan missile project), reportedly were observers at the site of North Korea’s test of a Taepodong II long-range missile on April 5, 2009. Officials from this company and IRG officials reportedly also had observed North Korea’s missile launches of July 4, 2006.

In short, these reports and the State Department’s characterization of the IRG as a major player in Iran’s missile program point to a likely continuing relationship between North Korea and the IRG, including a kind of joint venture partnership to develop missiles inside Iran.

 

North Korea Nuclear Cooperation with Iran

The State Department’s 2007 Fact Sheet asserted that “the IRGC attempted, as recently as 2006, to procure sophisticated and costly equipment that could be used to support Iran’s ballistic missile and nuclear program.” The National Council of Resistance of Iran asserted in a 2006 report that the IRG was directing the nuclear program. Other recent reports have alluded to IRG leadership in at least some elements of Iran’s nuclear program. The IRG reportedly directs Iran’s Nuclear Control Center, which supervises the nuclear program and reports directly to Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khomeini. Thus North Korea’s apparent main interlocutor in missile development was in a position to bring North Korea into the Iranian nuclear program. Numerous public reports have appeared since 1993 describing elements of North Korean-Iranian collaboration in the development of nuclear capabilities. Some cite the Central Intelligence Agency or Western intelligence sources as sources of information. Other reports seem to be based, at least in part, on Israeli intelligence sources. Specific events or factors in the alleged North Korean-Iranian nuclear collaboration are described in multiple reports. Nuclear cooperation reportedly began at the same time North Korea negotiated with the IRG for cooperation in developing and manufacturing Nodong missiles in Iran. The first reports, in 1993 and 1994, said that North Korea and Iran had signed an initial agreement for nuclear cooperation. An Economist Foreign Report cited “CIA sources” that Iran was helping to finance North Korea’s nuclear program and that North Korea would supply Iran with nuclear technology and equipment. A report of the U.S. House Republican Research Committee claimed that Iran would provide $500 million to North Korea for the joint development of nuclear weapons. The “CIA sources” cited by the Economist Foreign Report reportedly mentioned the development of enriched uranium as a goal of the new North Korean-Iranian agreements. Recent information has disclosed that North Korea had negotiated with Pakistan for Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto to turn over to North Korean officials detailed data on developing highly enriched uranium when she visited North Korea in 1993. 123 U.S. officials at the time reportedly concluded that Iran was the most likely customer for North Korean nuclear weapons; the CIA reportedly was concerned that nuclear cooperation, including the transfer of materials, would be difficult to detect. The next reported stage in North Korean-Iranian nuclear cooperation, in 2003 and afterwards, appears to have been influenced by the reported joint advancement of the Nodong (Shahab) program in Iran, by North Korea’s development and reported sale to Iran of the more advanced Musudan intermediate range ballistic missile (originally designed by the Soviets to launch nuclear warheads), and by the reported initiation of joint development of the Taepodong long-range missile after 2000. Stepped up visits to Iran by North Korean nuclear specialists in 2003 reportedly led to a North Korean-Iranian agreement for North Korea to either initiate or accelerate work with the Iranians to develop nuclear warheads that could be fitted on the North Korean Nodong missiles that North Korea and Iran were jointly developing. Iran was reported to have offered shipments of oil and natural gas to North Korea to secure this joint development of nuclear warheads. North Koreans reportedly were seen at Iranian nuclear facilities in 2003. By this time, a large number of North Korean nuclear and missile specialists reportedly were in Iran. The German news magazine, Der Spiegel, quoted “western intelligence service circles” as describing Iran in 2005 as offering North Korea economic aid if Pyongyang “continues to cooperative actively in developing nuclear missiles for Tehran.” During this period, Israeli officials began to assert that Iran was trying to develop nuclear warheads and that North Korea might be helping Tehran. Israeli President Shimon Peres was quoted that “there is no doubt” that Iran is developing long-range missiles to outfit with nuclear warheads. U.S. intelligence officials reportedly disclosed in early 2006 that Iran was trying to expand the nose cone of the Shahab 3 (Nodong) missile so that it could carry a nuclear warhead. They described an Iranian Project 111 as “a nuclear research effort that includes work on missile development.” In March 2006, Reuters reported “an intelligence report given to Reuters by a non-U.S. diplomat” that described Iran’s plans to develop nuclear warheads for the Shahab 3 missiles. Most recently, it has been reported that the International Atomic Energy Agency has evidence that Iran had developed designs of what appeared to be a nuclear warhead and that the nuclear smuggling ring linked to Pakistan’s nuclear czar, A.Q. Khan, had acquired blueprints for an advanced warhead that could be mounted on a Nodong missile. Both North Korea and Iran had received other types of missile and nuclear technology from Khan. Also, in 2008, the IAEA has disclosed documents and photographs showing Iranian work in re-designing the cone of the Shahab-3 missile in order for it to carry a nuclear warhead. The February 2008 report of the National Council of Resistance of Iran also claimed North Korean-Korean-Iranian collaboration in nuclear warhead development at secret sites inside Iran. It alleges that the Iranian Defense Ministry has a secret facility at Khojir on the edge of Tehran, code-named B1-Nori-8500, that is engaged in the development of nuclear warheads for intermediate range ballistic missiles. North Korean specialists are at this facility, according to the National Council. The National Council’s report so far has not been verified or refuted by governments or other organizations. European and Israeli defense officials stated in early 2007 that North Korea and Iran had concluded a new agreement for North Korea to share data from its October 2006 nuclear test with Iran. In February 2008, an Iranian delegation reportedly visited North Korea that included officials from Iran’s Atomic Energy Agency. Two other forms of North Korean-Iranian nuclear collaboration have been reported recently. At least one involved direct North Korean-IRG collaboration. In 2005, the Iranian leadership is reported to have initiated a huge project to develop underground bunkers and tunnels for Iran’s nuclear infrastructure, estimated to cost hundreds of millions of dollars. The project reportedly includes the construction of 10,000 meters of underground halls for nuclear equipment connected by tunnels measuring hundreds of meters branching off from each. Specifications reportedly called for reinforced concrete tunnel ceilings, walls, and doors resistant to explosions and

penetrating munitions. The IRG implemented the project. North Korea is said to have participated in the design and construction of the bunkers and tunnels. In early 2005, Myong Lyu-do, a leading North Korean expert on underground facilities, traveled to Tehran to run the program of North Korean assistance. Thus, as in the case of reported North Korean assistance to Hezbollah in the construction of underground bunkers and tunnels, the IRG apparently made further use of North Korea’s skills in developing underground military facilities. The second reported form of collaboration involved joint assistance to Syria in developing the Syrian nuclear reactor that Israel bombed in September 2007. The Bush Administration has said nothing about Iranian involvement in the Syrian reactor. However, the online service of the German news publication Der Spiegel has cited “intelligence reports seen by Der Spiegel” that North Korean and Iranian scientists were working together at the reactor site at the time of the Israeli bombing. Some of the plutonium production slated for the reactor was to have gone to Iran, which viewed the reactor as a “reserve site” to produce weapons-grade plutonium as a supplement to Iran’s own highly enriched uranium program. A similar description of North Korean-Iranian Revolutionary Guard cooperation in the Syrian reactor came in two reports from Washington in the Japanese newspaper, Sankei Shimbun. The newspaper reported in September 2008 information from “a source familiar with the Syrian nuclear issue” that “a secret Iranian Revolutionary Guards base” in Iran housed a plutonium reprocessing facility designed to reprocess nuclear fuel from the Syrian reactor. Sankei Shimbun reported from Washington in July 2008 several specific visits of Iranian officials to the Syrian reactor in 2005 and 2006. The Sankei Shimbun report of July 12, 2008, also described two visits of high-level Iranian officials to North Korea in February and May 2008. The Iranian delegation included officials of Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization and National Security Council. The apparent purpose of these visits, according to the report, was to ensure that North Korea would maintain secrecy about its nuclear collaboration with Iran in its negotiations with U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Christopher Hill. Reports in 2009 placed North Korean nuclear and missile experts in Iran as late as the anti-government protests in Iran in June 2009. The Sankei Shimbun report of September 12, 2008, also described two forms of non-nuclear military cooperation between Iran and North Korea inside Syria. One of these reportedly involves North Korean scientists and military personnel working with Iranian and Syrian counterparts at a chemical weapons plant in northern Syria. The second reportedly involves a plan by the Iranian Revolutionary Guards to deploy small, North Korean-made submarines in a military port in Syria. [End of CRS Content]