After years of intransigence and unwillingness to even consider abandoning its nuclear program, Iran has suddenly become amenable to what appears to be real negotiations and an apparent readiness to compromise. The change was dramatic. Although still firing off occasional tirades against the West in general and Israel in particular, Iran is now allowing daily inspections of some of its nuclear facilities in exchange for the lifting of international sanctions.
The sudden shift in Iranian policy has raised eyebrows among those who still consider Iran’s nuclear program to be a major threat to peace in the Middle East. What could have caused this turnabout in Iranian tactics? New and stunning information from highly credible sources in the US and Asia may help to explain this striking change.
According to the sources, in December 2012 Iran began moving its bomb manufacturing operations from Iran to North Korea. Two facilities near Nyŏngbyŏn in North Pyongan province, some 50 miles north of Pyongyang, have become a new center for Iran’s nuclear arms program.
The rationale is clear. Iran has been partnering with North Korea in its nuclear program for many years, although this collaboration has been largely ignored by the West. The presence of North Korean nuclear scientists and technicians in Iran, and of Iranian officials at North Korean missile launchings should have raised alarms, but didn’t. This gave Iran ample opportunity to leverage its relationship with the Kim regime and change its tactical nuclear game.
By establishing its production in North Korea, Iran was able to continue its nuclear weapons development in complete secrecy, far away from the prying eyes of international inspectors. Moreover, the move made any potential attack by Israel far less likely, given the much greater distance that Israeli planes would have to travel for a strike against sites in North Korea.
There was good reason for Iran to be generous during the P5+1 negotiations. For Iran, it was a win-win situation. Sanctions were eased, daily inspections were no longer a threat, and the nuclear program continued unabated.
While the negotiations dragged on, with long time lags between sessions, Iran was secretly supplying raw materials to the reactor at Nyŏngbyŏn for the production of plutonium. At a second facility, located about fifteen miles north and with a code name that translates to ‘Thunder God Mountain’, nuclear warheads were being assembled and integrated with MIRV platforms. MIRVs are offensive ballistic missile systems that can support multiple warheads, each of which can be aimed at an independent target, but are all launched by a single booster rocket. Approximately 250-300 Iranian scientists are now reported to be in North Korea, along with a small cadre of IRGC personnel to provide for their security.
According to the reports, the Iranian-North Korean collaboration has already produced the first batch of fourteen nuclear warheads. A dedicated fleet of Iranian cargo aircraft, a combination of 747′s and Antonov heavy-lifters, which has been ferrying personnel and materials back and forth between Iran and North Korea, is in place to bring the assembled warheads back to Iran.
As the first reports of the North Korean operation are released, the wily tactics of the Iranian government becomes increasingly clear. Iran has been able to continue on its path to becoming a nuclear power without Western interference. North Korea has likewise achieved its own goals as well through this partnership.
What might now constitute a new and plausible scenario would be a set of coordinated attacks by North Korea against South Korea and Japan, and by Iran against Israel as its first step towards creating a global caliphate.
Meanwhile, US Secretary of State John Kerry continues to play a one-sided game of Russian roulette with Iran’s negotiators, pushing an agenda of appeasement while the danger of a nuclear Iran races toward reality. The timetable for transferring the warheads to Iran is unknown, but fourteen ‘ready to go’ nuclear warheads mounted on MIRV platforms in the hands of a radical Islamic regime and a wild-eyed North Korean dictator would seem to constitute a clear and present danger.
The threat posed to the world by power-mad Kim Jung Un on the one hand, and the equally crazed, Islamic radicals in Teheran seeking global domination at all cost, cannot be overstated.
What is crystal clear is that we are rapidly running out of time.
Ilana Freedman is an intelligence analyst with nearly thirty years of experience in the field of counter-terrorism. She is Editor of the Freedman Report at freedmanreport.com. Send your comments and questions to her at firstname.lastname@example.org or comment below.
Jerry Gordon is Sr. Vice President of World Encounter Institute and Sr. Editor for New English Review. He is a former Army Intelligence officer who served during the Viet Nam era. Mr. Gordon has published widely in such outlets as FrontPageMagazine, The American Thinker, WorldNetDaily, ChronWatch, New English Review, Israpundit and others. He has been a frequent guest discussing Middle East issues on radio in both the U.S. and Canada.