05/16/2011, 00.00
NORTH KOREA – IRAN – CHINA

North Korean technicians in Iran to build nuclear weapons

Japanese newspaper says North Korea sent 200 highly specialised technicians to 12 Iranian provinces to help Iran build the bomb. The United Nations report says the two countries exchanged weapons with the complicity of China.
Seoul (AsiaNews/Agencies) – North Korea is said to have sent Iran 200 technicians who are highly specialised in nuclear technology to help the Islamic Republic develop an actual nuclear bomb. The story was published in the Japanese daily Mainichi Shimbun, which said that North Korean technicians are providing their expertise in 12 different regions in Iran, including Natanz, which houses a uranium enrichment facility.

Citing a source, the newspaper, known for its rightwing views and its anti-Pyongyang positions, said that the technicians are using fake passports issued by their government to protect their identity and profession. In exchange, North Korea is receiving food aid and Scud missiles, which Iran possesses in great quantity.

Other sources make similar claims. A classified United Nations report, cited by Reuters, noted that the two nations have been regularly exchanging ballistic missile technology in violation of United Nations sanctions.

According to the report, banned technology transfers went through a neighbouring third country, most probably China.

The UN report was authored by a panel of experts monitoring Pyongyang’s compliance with UN sanctions imposed after its nuclear tests in 2006 and 2008.

“Prohibited ballistic missile-related items are suspected to have been transferred" between the North and Iran "on regular scheduled flights of Air Koryo and Iran Air," it said.

"For the shipment of cargo, like arms and related materiel, whose illicit nature would become apparent on any cursory physical inspection," the North apparently prefers chartered cargo flights, it added.

The aircraft flew "from or to air cargo hubs which lack the kind of monitoring and security to which passenger terminals and flights are now subject."

Various diplomats on the Security Council said that China was displeased with the report. In the past, Beijing has tried to block reports on North Korea and Sudan.

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