North Korea and Iran Explore Broadening Relations

Senior North Korean and Iranian officials on Monday discussed reviving and expanding bilateral relations, according to an Iranian news report.

Iran's foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, hosted North Korean Deputy Foreign Minister Ri Gil Song for talks in Tehran, where he emphasized his government's commitment to cementing enduring ties with Pyongyang, the state-run Fars News Agency reported.

North Korean-Iranian ties are a focus of proliferation concern for the United States and its allies. The two rogue nations in 2012 formally agreed to increase their scientific and engineering cooperation, which some analysts worried could mean they would be supporting one another's nuclear and ballistic missile development programs. North Korea has touted its nuclear-arms ambitions, while Iran insists its atomic program is solely focused on peaceful uses.

Meanwhile, both North Korea and Iran were singled out recently for being "high-risk" areas for money laundering that endangers the international finance sector, the Yonhap News Agency reported.

The Financial Action Task Force, a 34-member nation anti-money-laundering body, said on its website that it continues to be "concerned about the D.P.R.K.'s failure to address the significant deficiencies in its anti-money laundering and combating the financing of a terrorist regime."

February 25, 2014
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Senior North Korean and Iranian officials on Monday discussed reviving and expanding bilateral relations, according to an Iranian news report.