TEL AVIV – Amid reports that Iran is assisting North Korea with its nuclear program, Deputy Minister for Diplomacy Michael Oren asked the international community at what point it would intervene.
Oren, who is also the former Israeli ambassador to the U.S., tweeted, “British officials say Iran assists North Korean nuclear program. No surprise, but what’s the world going to do about it?”
British officials say Iran assists North Korean nuclear program. No surprise but what’s the world going to do about it?
— Michael Oren (@DrMichaelOren) September 10, 2017
Earlier on Sunday, London-based newspaper the Telegraph cited unnamed senior British officials as saying that the likelihood North Korean scientists had managed its recent achievements in the nuclear arena without assistance from outside was nil.
“North Korean scientists are people of some ability, but clearly they’re not doing it entirely in a vacuum,” one government minister said.
Another Foreign Office source said, “For them to have done this entirely on their own stretches the bounds of credulity.”
Iran was named as the most likely collaborator, with Russia second, the report said.
British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson last week also implied that North Korea had received help.
“There is currently an investigation into exactly how the country has managed to make this leap in technological ability,” he said. “We are looking at the possible role that may have been played, inadvertently or otherwise, by some current and former nuclear states.”
North Korea has recently boasted of having the capability to fire ballistic missiles targeting the U.S., in addition to having manufactured miniature nuclear warheads to fit on ICBMs.
Last month, it successfully carried out an H-bomb test.
For more than a decade, speculation regarding Pyongyang’s collaboration with other rogue states has been rife. The country is thought to have assisted Syria’s nuclear program, which was allegedly destroyed by Israel in 2007.
Earlier this month, former Israeli defense minister Moshe (Bogie) Ya’alon predicted that Iran will be closely observing the world’s reaction to North Korea’s latest nuclear tests, in order to decide how to move forward with its own nuclear program.
The U.S. responded by saying it was drafting sanctions cutting off trade with North Korea.
Former IDF intelligence chief Maj. Amos Yadlin said that the U.S. “should attack North Korea preemptively.”
He added, however, that such a move was contingent upon “excellent military intelligence” since a counter strike could be catastrophic.
“If after an [American] attack a missile will be launched against him [Trump] then the attack makes no sense,” Yadlin said.
Yadlin, who now heads the Institute for National Security Studies (INSS), warned against comparing Iran with North Korea.
“Iran is 20 years behind North Korea,” he said. “The issue of Iranian nuclear capacities will be relevant towards the end date of the nuclear agreement, which will enable it to gain nuclear capacities in a short span of time.”