London, 8 Sep – Political analyst Faisal Al-Shammeri wrote an op-ed for Al Arabiya, entitled “North Korean nukes and the Iranian Nexus”, in which he discussed the troubling relationship between Iran and North Korea, and how, as a result, North Korea poses a threat to the Middle East.
Shammeri explains that we can deduce that North Korea is working with another country on their ballistic missile programme thanks to both the mobile launchers and the nuclear-missile nose cones used in the latest inter-continental ballistic missile (ICBM) tests conducted by Pyongyang.
He assessed that whilst the Kim regime is the world’s biggest proliferator of ICBMs, they did not have the technology of mobile launchers or a nose cone capable of carrying nuclear payload until quite recently and have shown no build up to this technology.
This technology alone, estimated at about $1.3 billion, would have been hard for North Korea to purchase on their own given the high levels of international sanctions levied against them and their estimated GDP of only $28 billion (CIA Factbook, 2013), but when you take into account the expenses of the research, development and manufacturing which led up to the tests, it is clear that they had help.
The Iranian Regime, who is supposed to have abandoned their nuclear and ballistic weapons programme per the 2015 agreement with the P5+1 countries, sent engineers and scientists to the ICBM launch and it is hard to understand why if they were not working with North Korea on their missile programme.
Shammeri posits: “What common cause brought the theocratic Shiite state of Iran so close to an atheist, Stalinist regime?”
Indeed, the countries have little in common besides the repression of their people and a hatred for the rest of the world.
Shammeri wrote: “How has Pyongyang aided Tehran in its missile development program? Has [North Korea] shared its technology on developing Iran’s ICBMs, particularly in the development of mobile launchers? Is the nature of this exchange limited to the missiles or does it also include the nuclear-tipped cones that Pyongyang has recently obtained?”
He continued: “Tehran provides the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), a designated terrorist group, with the weapons it procures from Pyongyang. It is also reasonable to conclude that these weapons eventually pass on to Hezbollah, Houthis and the sectarian militias in Iraq. To put it bluntly, one can surmise that North Korean weapons may have killed soldiers and citizens of Saudi Arabia over the years, and this might be happening in Yemen even today.”