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Finance & Economy

The Iran scam worsens: the North Korea – China connection


Iran-North Korea Axis

Iran-North Korea Axis

It is likely that the P5+1 nuke “deal” with Iran will be approved soon. Military and other nuke sites which Iran has not “disclosed” will not be inspected.

Nor will Iran’s nuke ties with North Korea — which P5+1 member China seems to be helping, Iran’s massive support for terrorism and abysmal human rights record be considered because they are also deemed unnecessary for “deal” approval.

Sanctions against Iran are moribund and will not be revived regardless of whether there is a “deal.”

However, a bronze bust of Obama may soon be displayed prominently in Supreme Leader Khamenei’s office and one of Khamenei may soon be displayed proudly in Dear Leader Obama’s office.

Part II — The North Korea – China connection

The North – Korea connection is a “natural,” and its basis should be obvious: Iran has been receiving funds through sanctions relief and will get substantially more when the P5+1 “deal” is made. North Korea needs money, not to help its starving and depressed masses, but to keep the Kim regime in power and for its favourites to continue their opulent lifestyles.

As I have written here, here and elsewhere, North Korea has been making substantial progress on nuclear weapons and means to deliver them, which it shares with Iran. Now, China appears to be intimately involved in their transfers of nuclear and missile technology as well as equipment.

As noted in an April 15, 2015 article titled Obama Hid North Korea Rocket Component Transfer to Iran,

US intelligence officials revealed that during the ongoing Iran nuclear negotiations, North Korea has provided several shipments of advanced missile components to the Islamic regime in violation of UN sanctions – and the US hid the violations from the UN.

The officials, who spoke to the Washington Free Beacon on Wednesday on condition of anonymity, said more than two shipments of missile parts since last September have been monitored by the US going from North Korea to Iran.

One official detailed that the components included large diameter engines, which could be used to build a long-range missile system, potentially capable of bearing a nuclear warhead.

The information is particularly damaging given that Admiral Bill Gortney, Commander of North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) and US Northern Command (USNORTHCOM), admitted this month that the Pentagon fears that North Korea and possibly Iran can target the US with a nuclear EMP strike.

Critics have pointed out that the nuclear framework deal reached with Iran earlier this month completely avoids this question of Iran’s intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) program, which would allow it to conduct nuclear strikes.

US President Barack Obama was given details of the shipments in his daily intelligence briefings, but the officials say the information was hidden from the UN by the White House so that it would not take action on the sanctions violations.

On June 17th, Secretary Kerry stated, just before leaving to participate in P5+1 negotiations, that the

“US and its negotiating partners are not fixated on the issue of so-called possible military dimensions [of the Iranian nuclear program] because they already have a complete picture of Iran’s past activities.”

This comment was a compendium of contradictions and untruths.

Sure, John. A June 17th article at Power Line on the same subject is titled Kerry’s absolute idiocy.

Here are the highlights from a March 29, 2015 article at The Daily Beast titled Does Iran Have Secret Nukes in North Korea?

As can be seen from the North Korean base housing Tehran’s weapons specialists, Iran is only one part of a nuclear weapons effort spanning the Asian continent. North Korea, now the world’s proliferation superstar, is a participant. China, once the mastermind, may still be a co-conspirator. Inspections inside the borders of Iran, therefore, will not give the international community the assurance it needs.

Inspections? We don’t need and won’t get no stinkin inspections since His Omniscience Kerry knows everything and is not troubled by it.

The cross-border nuclear trade is substantial enough to be called a “program.” Larry Niksch of the Centre for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, D.C., estimates that the North’s proceeds from this trade with Iran are “between $1.5 billion and $2.0 billion annually.” A portion of this amount is related to missiles and miscellaneous items, the rest derived from building Tehran’s nuclear capabilities.

Iran has bought a lot with its money. Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, thought to be Tehran’s chief nuclear scientist, was almost certainly in North Korea at Punggye-ri in February 2013 to witness Pyongyang’s third atomic test. Reports put Iranian technicians on hand at the site for the first two detonations as well.

. . . .

The North Koreans have also sold Iran material for bomb cores, perhaps even weapons-grade uranium. The Telegraph reported that in 2002 a barrel of North Korean uranium cracked open and contaminated the tarmac of the new Tehran airport.

The relationship between the two regimes has been long-lasting. Hundreds of North Koreans have worked at about 10 nuclear and missile facilities in Iran. There were so many nuclear and missile scientists, specialists, and technicians that they took over their own coastal resort there, according to Henry Sokolski,  the proliferation maven, writing in 2003.

As noted in a January 31, 2014 Daily Beast article titled Iran and North Korea: The Nuclear ‘Axis of Resistance,’

Last September, at the same time Iran was secretly meeting with U.S. officials to set up the current nuclear talks, North Korea leaders visited Tehran and signed a science and technology agreement that is widely seen as a public sign the two countries are ramping up their nuclear cooperation.

“Iran declared Sept. 1, 2012 North Korea was part of their ‘Axis of Resistance,’ which only includes Iran, Syria, and Hezbollah. They’ve announced to the world they are essentially allies with North Korea,” said David Asher, the State Department’s coordinator for North Korea from 2001 to 2005.

On February 13, 2013, DEBKAfile reported that North Korea —  Iran nuclear connection is substantial.

There is full awareness in Washington and Jerusalem that the North Korean nuclear test conducted Tuesday, Feb. 12, brings Iran that much closer to conducting a test of its own. A completed bomb or warhead are not necessary for an underground nuclear test; a device which an aircraft or missile can carry is enough.

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s boast this week that Iran will soon place a satellite in orbit at an altitude of 36,000 kilometers – and Tehran’s claim on Feb. 4 to have sent a monkey into space – highlight Iran’s role in the division of labour Pyongyang and Tehran have achieved in years of collaboration: the former focusing on a nuclear armament and the latter on long-range missile technology to deliver it.

Their advances are pooled. Pyongyang maintains a permanent mission of nuclear and missile scientists in Tehran, whereas Iranian experts are in regular attendance at North Korea’s nuclear and missile tests.

Since the detonation of the “miniature atomic bomb” reported by Pyongyang Tuesday – which US President Barack Obama called “a threat to US National security”- Iran must be presumed to have acquired the same “miniature atomic bomb” capabilities – or even assisted in the detonation.

On the same day, an article at Fox News observed,

In an exclusive interview with Fox News, Ambassador Thomas Graham, Jr, who has advised five U.S. presidents as a world renowned authority on arms control and nuclear non-proliferation, noted “If the assessments are correct as to his (Fakhrizadeh’s) role in the Iranian nuclear program, if China knowingly permitted him transfer from Iran across China to witness the North Korea test … then it would appear that China or at least some element in China are cooperating with nuclear programs in North Korea and Iran.”

The Feb. 11 test has been described by experts as a miniaturised atomic bomb test of a relatively small yield of 6-7 kilotons, mounted on a Nodong missile.

. . . .

Ambassador Graham added: “The objective of this test has said to be the development of a compact highly explosive nuclear warhead mated with a North Korean missile. Iranian missiles were developed from North Korean prototypes. It could appear that North Korea is building nuclear weapons for transfer to Iran.”

A June 11, 2015 Gatestone Institute article titled North Korea’s Serious New Nuclear Missile Threat, noted that North Korea already has upwards of twenty nukes and that

if North Korea’s technical advances are substantive, its missiles, armed with small nuclear weapons, might soon be able to reach the continental United States — not just Hawaii and Alaska. Further, if such missile threats were to come from submarines near the U.S., North Korea would be able to launch a surprise nuclear-armed missile attack on an American city. In this view, time is not on the side of the U.S. Submarine-launched missiles come without a “return address” to indicate what country or terrorist organisation fired the missile.

The implications for American security do not stop there. As North Korea is Iran’s primary missile-development partner, whatever North Korea can do with its missiles and nuclear warheads, Iran will presumably be able to do as well. One can assume the arrangement is reciprocal.

Although attempts have been made to debunk recent photoshopped images of North Korea firing of a missile from a submerged platform, the immediately linked Gatestone article offers substantial reasons to think that it was indeed fired and that it is troubling.

The linked Gatestone article continues, despite hopes that China may force or talk North Korea into halting its missile development program and sharing with Iran, such hopes are

painfully at odds with China’s established and documented track record in supporting and carrying out nuclear proliferation with such collapsed or rogue states as Iran, Syria, Pakistan, North Korea and Libya, as detailed by the 2009 book The Nuclear Express, by Tom C. Reed (former Secretary of the Air Force under President Gerald Ford and Special Assistant to the President of National Security Affairs during the Ronald Reagan administration) and Daniel Stillman (former Director of the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory).

Far from being a potential partner in seeking a non-nuclear Korean peninsula, China, say the authors, has been and is actually actively pushing the spread of nuclear weapons to rogue states, as a means of asserting Chinese hegemony, complicating American security policy and undermining American influence.

The problem is not that China has little influence with North Korea, as China’s leadership repeatedly claims. The problem is that China has no interest in pushing North Korea away from its nuclear weapons path because the North Korean nuclear program serves China’s geostrategic purposes.

As Reed and Stillman write, “China has been using North Korea as the re-transfer point for the sale of nuclear and missile technology to Iran, Syria, Pakistan, Libya and Yemen”. They explain, “Chinese and North Korean military officers were in close communication prior to North Korea’s missile tests of 1998 and 2006.″

Thus, if China takes action to curtail North Korea’s nuclear program, China will likely be under pressure from the United States and its allies to take similar action against Iran and vice versa. China, however, seems to want to curry favor with Iran because of its vast oil and gas supplies, as well as to use North Korea to sell and transfer nuclear technology to both North Korea and Iran, as well as other states such as Pakistan. As Reed again explains, “China has catered to the nuclear ambitions of the Iranian ayatollahs in a blatant attempt to secure an ongoing supply of oil.” 

What about Russia which, like China, is a P5+1 member? Russia announced in late May of this year that it would build an Iranian nuclear reactor for “peaceful” generation of electricity. It announced in April that it would provide accurate, long range S-300 missiles to Iran.

Iranian news sources are reporting that negotiations with Russia to buy the S-300 surface-to-air missile systems were “successful.”

Western officials say delivery of the system would essentially eliminate the military option to stop Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons.

During a press conference Monday, Iran’s Deputy Foreign Minister for Arab and African Affairs Hossein Amir-Abdollahian said that the missiles will be delivered as soon as possible.

On September 23, 2014, the Iranian FARS News Agency announced that Iran was completing its own version of the S-330 missile.

Last month, senior Iranian military officials announced that their home-grown version of the Russian S-300 missile defence system, called Bavar (Belief)-373, has already been put into test-run operation and has once shot at a target successfully.

Commander of Khatam ol-Anbia Air Defence Base Brigadier General Farzad Esmayeeli told the Iranian state-run TV that “Bavar-373 has fired a first successful shot”.

Might Russia have given Iran the plans needed to build its own version of the Russian missile? Why not?

Conclusions

We have to guess far more than we actually know about the North Korea – China – Iran nuclear connection. That is unfortunate. It is absurd that the P5+1 joint plan of action and the White House summary focus on Iran’s uranium enrichment to the exclusion of its militarization of nukes. Since nuke militarisation, among other substantial matters, is deemed irrelevant to whether there is a “deal,” so is the connection with North Korea, China and possibly Russia.

Obama wants a “deal” with Iran, regardless of what it may say or — more importantly — what it may not say.

Source: Dan Miller in Panama, The Iran scam worsens — Part II, North Korea – China connection

 

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About danmillerinpanama

I was graduated from Yale University in 1963 with a B.A. in economics and from the University of Virginia School of law, where I was the notes editor of the Virginia Law Review in 1966. Following four years of active duty with the Army JAG Corps, with two tours in Korea, I entered private practice in Washington, D.C. specializing in communications law. I retired in 1996 to sail with my wife, Jeanie, on our sailboat Namaste to and in the Caribbean. In 2002, we settled in the Republic of Panama and live in a very rural area up in the mountains. I have contributed to Pajamas Media and Pajamas Tatler. In addition to my own blog, Dan Miller in Panama, I an an editor of Warsclerotic and contribute to China Daily Mail when I have something to write about North Korea.

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