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North Korea-Iran link worries analysts

April 18, 2012 at 1:33 PM   |   Comments

SEOUL, April 18 (UPI) -- The audience present at North Korea's failed rocket launch included Iranian missile and satellite manufacturers and engineers, analysts say.

South Korean media said a dozen representatives of the company that manufactures Iran's middle-range missiles, capable of targeting Israel from Iran, were present last week to witness the launch of North Korea's long-range missile, the Unha-3, the Christian Science Monitor reported Wednesday, adding that analysts regard their presence as the latest evidence of the technological ties between the two countries.

"North Korea and Iran are in close cooperation about long-range missiles. There is high possibility they sell nuclear technology to each other. At least their people share information," said Baek Seung-joo, senior researcher at the Korea Institute for Defense Analysis.

Although Iranian and North Korean military programs differ in certain respects --- North Korea has nuclear warhead capability and concentrates on long-range missiles, while more technologically sophisticated Iran has launched a satellite, has middle-range missiles originally imported from North Korea and claims no interest in building nuclear weapons --- both countries have common goals hostile to the United States and its allies, the newspaper said.

"There are worries there could be a transfer of knowledge," on technology such as gas centrifuges, the key component in enriching uranium to produce electrical power or a nuclear weapon, said David Albright, president of the Institute for Science and International Security, based in Washington, D.C.

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