On December 24, a research report from the South Korean Foreign Ministry Institute indicated that North Korea would carry out another nuclear bomb test after the beginning of the year. -- South Korean media reported earlier this month that the North was digging a tunnel in preparation for such a nuclear test.
At the same time, reports from inside Iran indicate that a team of Iranian nuclear scientists have been sent to North Korea and that the two governments have agreed on a joint nuclear test in North Korea with a substantial financial reward for the Kim Jong-Il government.
It is no secret that Iran and North Korea are collaborating in a ballistic missile program. The North Koreans provided Iran with the technology and know-how to build the Shahab-3 medium-range ballistic missile, which is a copy of the Nodong-1 missile. The Shahb- 3 missile has a range of 2,000 kilometers (1,240 miles) covering all of the U.S. military bases in the Middle East and the entire country of Israel.
Most alarming, recent WikiLeaks releases reveal that Iran obtained a cache of advanced missiles capable of carrying nuclear warheads (based on a Russian design) from North Korea. Now, for the first time, Iran has the capability to target every capital in Western Europe.
Not only are these two governments continuing to collaborate on the missile projects, they are also conspiring on Iran’s nuclear bomb development. This relationship has not only led to sharing data on previous nuclear tests by North Korea, but played a part in Iran’s capability to build the more advanced P2 centrifuges that produce 2.5 times more enriched uranium than the first generation P1 model.
The recent revelations about North Korea’s uranium enrichment plant also raise the possibility that North Korea is enriching uranium on Iran's behalf. Iran has always maintained that its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes; that it is their right to produce nuclear fuel for their nuclear power plants.
In order to avoid a possible military reaction by the West, Iran is working covertly with North Korea until such a time they are capable of weaponizing their ballistic missiles with nuclear warheads.
Iran continues their nuclear bomb project on multiple fronts despite four sets of sanctions by the U.N. They continue to enrich uranium at the Natanz facility (which currently has enough enriched uranium stockpiled for three nuclear bombs) while they continue to openly enrich uranium to the 20% level. It is important to note that from this level, it is comparatively easy to reach the 93% needed to create an atomic bomb. Sources inside Iran reported several months ago that Iran has successfully mastered the enrichment of uranium to a weapon-grade level.
Iran is also increasing yellowcake production at the Gchine uranium mine. The mine currently has a design capacity of 21 tons of yellowcake per year; about half that amount is needed to produce the 55 pounds of 93% enriched uranium for a nuclear bomb.
They have a nuclear fuel facility in Isfahan capable of producing ten tons of nuclear fuel annually, and sufficient plutonium for two nuclear weapons a year.
The Arak heavy water plant — built in violation of the nonproliferation treaty — is near its completion, though the West had assumed this would not happen until 2015. This facility will be capable of producing significant amounts of bomb-grade plutonium. With the assistance of the Russians in going live, once the Bushehr nuclear power plant is fully operational, it will be able to produce more than 661 pounds of near-weapons-grade plutonium — enough to make 60 nuclear bombs within the first year or two.
The upcoming nuclear bomb test in North Korea is yet another indication that time is running out.
Soon we will wake up to the shocking realization that Iran has nuclear bombs and that both Iran and North Korea have nuclear warhead delivery systems.
It is a shame that we failed to stop North Korea from developing its nuclear capability, but it is not too late to stop Iran!
Maybe the North Korean leaders are not suicidal. Maybe they are only looking to intimidate South Korea, the U.S. and other allies in the region. Maybe they are trying to gain stature and stronger negotiating powers. However, the Iranian leaders have long talked about the destruction of Israel and its master -- America.
It is not only irresponsible and cowardly for our politicians to allow such a messianic regime, which supports worldwide terrorism, to acquire nuclear bombs; it holds dire consequences for the rest of the world.
Nuclear bombs in the hands of jihadists should be the final red line that the free world will not back away from!
Reza Kahlili is a pseudonym for an ex-CIA spy who requires anonymity for safety reason. “A Time to Betray,” his book about his double life as a CIA agent in Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, was published by Simon & Schuster in 2010.