NUCLEAR, BIOLOGICAL AND CHEMICAL WEAPONS
November 21, 2011: South Korean intelligence has revealed that there are several hundred North Korean scientists, engineers and technicians working in Iran's nuclear weapons program. The North Koreans work at ten locations, and are regularly rotated back to North Korea and replaced. Such a North Korean presence has long been known, but was believed to be for the ballistic missile program. Now, there are accusations of extensive North Korean help with Iran's nuclear weapons program.
Earlier this month, the UN IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency) issued a report that accused Iran of having a nuclear weapons program. The report provided lots of details. Russia, China and other Iran allies tried to block release of the report, but without much success. The report describes a nuclear weapons research facility outside Tehran, and the use of computer simulation to guide the nuclear weapon design process. IAEA believes Iran now has enough enriched (to weapons grade) uranium for three nuclear weapons, but is still encountering technical problems in producing a workable weapon.
North Korea has been supplying Iran with weapons and weapons technology since the 1980s. In the beginning, it was SCUD ballistic missiles to fire at Iraq. Then came technical assistance to modify the SCUDs. This led to several North Korean long range missile designs showing up in Iran. Both Iran and North Korea have long played down this relationship, but the evidence keeps piling up to document it, and the subsequent assistance for the nuclear weapons effort.
North Korea needs cash and weapons, and weapons technology has long been a major export. But the North Koreans drive a hard bargain. Despite the fact that North Korea has tested two nuclear weapons (in 2006 and 2009), they have not given this tech to Iran, but, for a fee, are helping the Iranians re-invent it.