North Korea-Iran Agreement Prompts Worries

A September agreement between Iran and North Korea could enable the nations to expand their missile development collaboration to encompass weapon-usable atomic initiatives, Obama administration insiders suggested in a Friday report by the Wall Street Journal.

Former International Atomic Energy Agency safeguards chief Olli Heinonen said the deal has "pretty much the same wording" as a 2002 accord between North Korea and Syria. U.S. government insiders and U.N. sources said the latter agreement took effect as Pyongyang began assembling a nuclear reactor for Damascus; Israel destroyed the Syrian complex in a 2007 airstrike.

Iran could look to North Korea to obtain uranium of varying purity as well as equipment capable of refining the material into bomb fuel, according to the Journal. Tehran, which insists its nuclear program is strictly peaceful, might also benefit from North Korean know-how in preparing a nuclear armament suited for placement on a missile, the newspaper reported.

Meanwhile, Turkish and German law enforcement personnel have detained seven individuals for allegedly carrying out roughly 900 transfers of unspecified Indian- and German-origin atomic contraband to Iran's Arak heavy-water reactor site, United Press International reported on Monday. The transactions reportedly took place through front firms based in Turkey.

Germany has taken five Iranians into custody, according to the Turkish news publication Habertuk. Detainees in Turkey were an Iranian-born Turkish national and a second Iranian described as a ringleader in the export operation, Turkish police have confiscated records linked to the trade ring.

Authorities were seeking out additional implicated individuals, including two Iranian spouses tied to transactions involving the unidentified atomic assets.

March 11, 2013
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A September agreement between Iran and North Korea could enable the nations to expand their missile development collaboration to encompass weapon-usable atomic initiatives, Obama administration insiders suggested in a Friday report by the Wall Street Journal.