Iranian President Hassan Rouhani publicly opposed North Korea’s nuclear program this week during a historic three-day summit between him and South Korea’s President Park Geun-hye in Tehran, Iran.
“We cheer for peace on the Korean Peninsula and we are, in principle, opposed to any nuclear development,” Rouhani said, according to The Korea Times. “Our basic position is that nuclear weapons should be removed from the Korean Peninsula and the Middle East.” His remarks were delivered through a translator during a joint news conference with President Park between May 1 and May 3.
Park has reportedly called for Iran’s cooperation in enforcing U.N. sanctions imposed on North Korea following its fourth nuclear test and long-range rocket launch earlier this year, a stark violation of international law. Iran has also violated a U.N. Security Council resolution by conducting at least two sets of ballistic missile tests that were inherently capable of delivering nuclear weapons.
Iran has also cut back parts of its own nuclear program, although it has been suggested that once the Iran nuclear deal expires in 2030, the Islamic Republic will build a nuclear bomb.
Some talk has been floated about the possibility that North Korea’s dictator Kim Jong-un might try to reduce some of the tensions he has caused in the Korean Peninsula to garner more financial aid from China. However, some reportedly remain skeptical. “Kim Jong-un will never stop nuclear weapons development,” Chang Yong-seok, an analyst at the Institute for Peace and Unification Studies at Seoul National University, told The New York Times. “He does not consider economic reform without nuclear weapons.”
Speculation has reportedly mounted that Kim might order a fifth nuclear test to be carried out on Friday to mark the rare event of his ruling Workers’ Party’s seventh Congress convening, during which he is planning to carry out his self-coronation.
Park also met, during her visit, with Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on Monday to discuss boosting bilateral relations between the two countries as the economic opportunity has amplified following the lifting of sanctions in Iran and the groundswell of outside businesses seeking to invest in the nation.
As part of President Park’s historic visit to the Islamic Republic of Iran, the South Korean government organized the “Korea Culture Week” in Tehran to coincide with her official trip there. The two sides reportedly designated 2017 as the year of cultural exchanges between South Korea and Iran.
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