Monday, March 8, 2010

Iran Gets a Little Help from North Korea

On Saturday, state media reported that Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad called the official version of the Sept. 11 attacks a "big lie" used by the U.S. as an excuse for the war on terror while addressing the Intelligence Ministry staff. "September 11 was a big lie and a pretext for the war on terror and a prelude to invading Afghanistan," Ahmadinejad was quoted as saying by state TV. He called the attacks a "complicated intelligence scenario and act." He has also questioned the resulting death toll of around 3,000, claiming the Americans never published the victims' names when the names of 2,750 victims killed in New York are routinely read aloud during annual memorial ceremonies.

The official Korean Central News Agency, KCNA of North Korea, then announced on Sunday that it would no longer move forward with nuclear disarmament in response to a planned U.S.-South Korean joint military exercise. "The maneuvers clearly indicate once again that the U.S. and the South Korean authorities are the harassers of peace and warmongers keen to bring a war to this land," the statement said. North Korea also announced it would no longer abide by the armistice that brought a truce to the Korean War, saying that South Korea violated the agreement by participating in the military cooperation with the United States. "The process for the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula will naturally come to a standstill and (North Korea) will bolster its nuclear deterrent for self-defense," the statement said.

Even more frightening, Iran is said to have been constructing a new rocket launch facility that could later accommodate an intercontinental ballistic missile carrying a nuclear warhead with help from North Korea. The launcher was detected by commercial remote-sensing satellites in the Semnan province east of Teheran and is said to be halfway to completion. Both the platforms, and the new Simorgh space-launch vehicle that can transform into an intercontinental ballistic missile with the capability of containing a nuclear warhead, are said to resemble equipment and platforms at North Korea's new launch pad at Tongchang. It seems that despite the United States attempting to garner support for further sanctions against Iran for its nuclear program, Teheran appears determined to continue developing its missile and rocket capabilities in the foreseeable future, and has found an ally to help them do it.

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