Report: Iranian officials witnessed North Korean rocket launch

Will Rahn Senior Editor
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Twelve Iranian officials were on hand to witness the failed rocket test in North Korea last week, South Korea’s Yonhap news agency reports.

According to Yonhap, a “diplomatic source” informed the news agency that a dozen officials from the Shadid Hemmat Industrial Group, the organization responsible for Iran’s ballistic missile programs, were in North Korea to view the launch.

“On March 31, 12 Iranians of the Shahid Hemmat Industrial Group (SHIG) arrived in North Korea,” Yonhap quotes their source as saying. “The Iranians undoubtedly were there to observe the missile launch and receive test data from North Korea.”

The launch, which was widely seen as a breech of security agreements that prohibited North Korea from testing ballistic missiles, ended in failure when the rocket disintegrated shortly after take-off. North Korea claims that they were trying to put a satellite into space.

SHIG, the developer of Iran’s medium-range Shahab-3 ballistic missile, is the target of international sanctions. The South Korean government did not confirm or deny the allegations, as it its practice on intelligence matters.

North Korea has been accused of exporting missile and nuclear technology by the United Nations, among others. The hermetic, communist country is also thought to have assisted in the building of a Syrian nuclear reactor that was destroyed by an Israeli airstrike in 2007.

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