North Korea’s ‘No. 2’ official on 10-day visit to Iran that may signal wider military ties

As part of the new US sanctions, head “No. 2” in North Korea Thursday began a 10-day visit to Iran that could ensure that both sides broaden their ties.

The official IRNA news agency IRNA reported that Kim Yong Nam, the chairman of the Supreme Assembly of North Korea, arrived Thursday at the inauguration ceremony of Iranian President Hassan Rouhani.

But as the head of the North Korean parliament is expected to stay for 10 days in Iran, it is seen as a front for other purposes, including the expansion of military cooperation. At the same time, Pyongyang looks for ways to counter the sanctions and boost the strong currency of the Kim Jong Un regime.

“There could be a very problematic cooperation going on because of past history and because it has a strategic sense, especially for Iran now,” said Emily Landau, senior researcher at the Israeli Institute of Studies on National Security and Arms Control and Head of Regional security program. INSS is an independent expert group affiliated with the University of Tel Aviv.

The man Iran described as “# 2” from the North is supposed to travel with a delegation of other officials in Pyongyang, including economic and military leaders.

“In North Korea, it’s not a matter of ideology,” Landau said. “It’s not that it’s politically close and maybe religiously oriented.

It’s about who can pay in cash. This is what makes North Korea a very dangerous source of nuclear technology, components and know-how. ”

Last month, Central Intelligence Agency director Mike Pompeo said in a speech to the National Intelligence and Security Alliance that they had “created two new mission centers to put a dagger at the heart of the problem Korea and the problem Of Iran “.

“The North Koreans and Iranians feel a serious threat in the United States and the West and consider themselves to be very different countries, but they face a somewhat similar situation,” said Matthew Bunn, a nuclear proliferation expert and professor of the School’s practice John F. Kennedy of Harvard University.

The new North Korean embassy in Tehran opened on Wednesday, according to state news agency KCNA North. He said the new embassy was “built to stimulate exchanges, contacts and cooperation between the two countries for peace and global security and international justice.”

In July, North Korea’s nuclear weapons carried out two tests of an intercontinental ballistic missile. Iran could have an ICBM capability similar to North Korea in recent years because last week it has successfully launched a bearer of rocket satellites, which some see as a precursor to the ability of weapons to ballistic missiles Long reach.

“There was quite a lot of cooperation on missiles,” Bunn said. “And, in fact, the first generations of Iranian missiles were mostly moderately adequate North Korean missiles.”

For example, the Shahab-3 of Tehran’s ballistic missiles, capable of reaching Saudi Arabia from Iranian lands, is based on North Korea’s Nodong-1 rocket technology.