Is it possible Iran has paid for and outsourced their nuclear program to North Korea?
One leading expert say yes. And Iran might be providing their best nuclear scientist as well.
Reports that Iran’s leading nuclear scientist, Dr. Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, was present for North Korea’s third nuclear test on Feb. 11 are raising further concerns. Particularly since the latest international negotiations over Iran’s nuclear ambitions concluded this week in Almaty, Kazakhstan, with little more than an agreement to meet again.
The London Times first reported on Feb. 17 that Fakhrizadeh, who despite the terms of U.N. Security Council Resolution 1747, may have traveled “evidently to Pyongyang, most likely via China” to witness North Korea’s third and successful nuclear test. This despite the U.N. calling upon member states to “exercise vigilance and restraint” and “notification” in allowing him entry or transit.
Iran has refused to make Fakhrizadeh available for interviews by investigators from the International Atomic Energy Agency. No confirmed image of him has been made public.
In an exclusive interview with Fox News, Ambassador Thomas Graham, Jr, who has advised five U.S. presidents as a world renowned authority on arms control and nuclear non-proliferation, noted “If the assessments are correct as to his (Fakhrizadeh’s) role in the Iranian nuclear program, if China knowingly permitted him transfer from Iran across China to witness the North Korea test … then it would appear that China or at least some element in China are cooperating with nuclear programs in North Korea and Iran.”
The Feb. 11 test has been described by experts as a miniaturized atomic bomb test of a relatively small yield of 6-7 kilotons, mounted on a Nodong missile.
This latest demonstration shows Pyongyang has not changed its strident military posture despite its new leader Kim Jong-un’s higher profile. North Korea has been working on warhead designs in its highly secretive program for approximately 25 years.
Ambassador Graham added: “The objective of this test has said to be the development of a compact highly explosive nuclear warhead mated with a North Korean missile. Iranian missiles were developed from North Korean prototypes. It could appear that North Korea is building nuclear weapons for transfer to Iran.”
Graham also drew attention to North Korea’s completed uranium enrichment plant, which when visited by American experts in 2010, was described as “stunning and to be better than anything the Iranians have.”
He added, “This opens the door via technology sold to North Korea years previously by Pakistani proliferator A.Q. Khan to build a significant number of weapons.”
Sanctions are not working. Confronting the “triangular trade,” which refers to the cooperation among Iran, China and North Korea on nuclear programs, is a growing challenge. In addition, Iran may have more than one plan to obtain full nuclear weapons capability.
“Indeed, the West could have it all wrong, says Graham. “The Iranians perhaps in fact are going to use their enrichment facilities at Natanz and Qom to fabricate peaceful reactor grade uranium, and have outsourced their nuclear program to North Korea. North Korea might even agree to store the Iranian weapons produced with Iranian money.”
Graham currently serves as the Executive Chairman of the Board of Lightbridge. He is scheduled to speak Friday at Drexel University in Philadelphia, at the “Conference on Global Challenges.”
Pamela K. Browne is Senior Executive Producer at the FOX News Channel (FNC) and is Director of Long-Form Series and Specials. Her journalism has been recognized with several awards. Browne first joined FOX in 1997 to launch the news magazine “Fox Files” and later, “War Stories.”