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Friday, July 07, 2006

Pyongyang Deepens Tehran Ties with Suspected Arms Exports

by Gordon Fairclough
Late last year, a freighter from North Korea docked at the Iranian port of Bandar Abbas on the Persian Gulf to deliver more than a dozen intermediate-range ballistic missiles, senior U.S. and Asian officials say. It was the first of at least two shipments of one of the newest missiles in the North Korean arsenal, U.S. officials say. The arms were adapted from a Soviet-era weapon, known in the West as the SS-N-6 and originally designed to launch nuclear warheads from submarines.

"There's a certain solidarity developing between these two members of the axis of evil," says Kenneth Katzman, a Middle East expert at the Congressional Research Service in Washington. The latest addition to Iran's missile force is a particular concern to Israel. Iran already has missiles that can reach Israel, but many analysts regard them as relatively inaccurate and unreliable. Israel's head of military intelligence asserted in April that Iran had received missiles from North Korea. (Wall Street Journal, 6Jul06)
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