Iran Has No Military Cooperation With N. Korea

Iran Has No Military Cooperation With N. KoreaIran Has No Military Cooperation With N. Korea

A senior diplomat said Tehran has no military cooperation with North Korea whatsoever, adding that economic ties between Tehran and Pyongyang are so meager that one can say the two sides have no relations at present.

"During our talks with our South Korean and Japanese friends, we have told them that we have no military cooperation with North Korea in any way. And our economic collaboration with the country is so limited that we can say there is no cooperation between Tehran and Pyongyang," Deputy Foreign Minister for Asia-Pacific Affairs Ebrahim Rahimpour also told ISNA.

US President Donald Trump contended in his speech on Oct. 13 that Iran might have military links with Pyongyang.

"There are also many people who believe that Iran is dealing with North Korea. I am going to instruct our intelligence agencies to do a thorough analysis and report back their findings beyond what they have already reviewed," he said.

Pointing to the current tense situation in the Korean Peninsula, he said Iran understands the concerns of Japan and South Korea, and strongly supports peace and stability in the peninsula and opposes nuclear weapons.

North Korea carried out its sixth and by far most powerful nuclear test, a hydrogen bomb, on Sept. 3 under its leader, Kim Jong-un, in defiance of UN sanctions. It followed a series of North Korean missile tests, including one that flew over Japan.

North Korea says it aims to reach "equilibrium" of military force with the United States that is able to target the US mainland with a powerful, nuclear-tipped missile.

  Backing UN Policy

Highlighting Iran's opposition to nuclear weapons, Rahimpour said, "Such weapons must be controlled in the world, especially in critical areas."

He also said Iran supports UN resolutions related to North Korea's nuclear tests.

Rahimpour noted that there have been some requests by Japan and South Korea asking Iran to help resolve the North Korean crisis, saying that there have been several rounds of talks with Japanese officials in this regard.

During the talks, Iran has offered to take advantage of its diplomatic experience to help work out "a win-win model" such as the talks between Iran and P5+1, which eventually led to the 2015 nuclear accord, Rahimpour said, adding that the Japanese side backed the idea.

The P5+1 refers to the UN Security Council's five permanent members, namely China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States, plus Germany. The group of six world powers in 2006 joined diplomatic efforts with Iran to settle a lingering standoff on the country's nuclear program.

"We told them that they must tell Trump that he should either choose the model of talks or war, but apparently Mr. Trump is interested in the latter," the Iranian diplomat said.

"We warned our South Korean and Japanese friends that the US is blocking the path of negotiations and that even if there are negotiations, the US will not honor its commitments," he added.

He was referring to the widely-criticized Trump's move last month to decertify Iran's compliance with the terms of the nuclear deal. This is while the UN nuclear watchdog, monitoring the deal, has repeatedly confirmed that Iran is honoring its commitments.

Also critical of Trump's decision were British Prime Minister Theresa May, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron who issued a joint statement in defense of the agreement after Trump's decertification.

Rahimpour said Japan agrees that the US approach regarding Iran is not correct.

"We are ready to offer our potentials to [solve the nuclear crisis in the Korean Peninsula], but Mr. Trump is not interested in such an approach," he concluded.

  US Afghan Strategy Criticized

Referring to the rise of terrorists in Afghanistan and Pakistan, Rahimpour said the Iranian side has discussed this issue in a recent meeting of Iran-Afghanistan Political-Security Committee.

"We have also talked with Afghan officials about the issue through other military and intelligence channels and the negotiations will continue," he said.

"Unfortunately, these days, Afghanistan is the target of terrorist attacks. The new strategy of Americans in the region and their efforts to stay longer have upset the people in Afghanistan and some of them consider it an incentive to increase the activities of terrorist groups in Afghanistan."

Trump unveiled what he described as a "dramatically" new US strategy in Afghanistan and South Asia on Aug. 20, paving the way for more US troops' involvement in America's longest-running war.

His decision to further commit to the nation's longest war contrasts with his 2011 view, when he tweeted that the US was "wasting lives and money" there.


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