As part of their ongoing nuclear program, Iran may have entered into an agreement with North Korea in an attempt to tap into the renegade state's nuclear weapons capability, a senior European defense official told the Telegraph.
In the understanding, North Korea said it would divulge to Iranian scientists information garnered from its successful secret test back in October.
The senior official, whose name was not disclosed, said Iranian scientists were invited to study the results of North Korea’s underground test to aid Tehran’s own preparations.
The United States and some of its allies have long accused Tehran of trying to develop nuclear weapons. Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad denies this, saying his country's program is only to produce electricity from nuclear sources.
Last month, the U.N. Security Council imposed limited trade sanctions on Iran because of its refusal to cease uranium enrichment, a process that produces the material for nuclear reactors or bombs.
But the report said Iran may be planning to carry out a nuclear weapons test by year’s end.
“The Iranians are working closely with the North Koreans to study the results of last year's North Korean nuclear bomb test," the European defense official told the Telegraph.
Iranian military advisers regularly visit North Korea to participate in missile tests, the Telegraph reported.
"All the indications are that the Iranians are working hard to prepare for their own underground nuclear test," the official said.
No action was taken against North Korea following its test, an occurrence that may have encouraged the Iranians in their nuclear test planning.
But this latest supposed nuclear cooperation comes as the United States has sent a second aircraft carrier to the Persian Gulf, reportedly as a warning to Iran, which continues to defy Western pressure to halt its nuke pursuits amid the U.N.-imposed sanctions.
The aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis and accompanying warships have been sent to the Gulf as part of a buildup of forces that U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates has said is aimed to impress on Iran that American power in the Middle East has not been weakened by the war in Iraq.