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Friday, January 19, 2007

High-level Iran delegation visits NKorea

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) - A high-level Iranian delegation arrived in North Korea on Thursday, the North's media reported, as the two hardline regimes face international pressure to give up their nuclear weapons programs.

The Iranian Foreign Ministry delegation, led by Vice Minister Mahdi Safari, arrived in Pyongyang, the Korean Central News Agency reported in a one-sentence dispatch without giving any further details.

North Korea and Iran - both labeled by President Bush as part of an "axis of evil" along with prewar Iraq - are under growing international pressure to give up their pursuit of nuclear programs.

North Korea is believed to have sold missiles to Iran. Although North Korea's publicly acknowledged nuclear weapons program uses plutonium, Iran's is based on uranium.

The North claims it has the right to nuclear weapons as a deterrence against alleged U.S. attempts to overthrow the communist regime. Pyongyang conducted its first-ever nuclear test in October.

Iran insists it only wants energy, while Western powers suspect it is seeking nuclear arms.
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