'Hundreds of N.Koreans' Working at Iran Nuke Facilities

North Korea has dispatched a small army of engineers to Iran's nuclear and missile facilities, a diplomat claimed Sunday. The news comes amid growing pressure on Iran from the international community after the International Atomic Energy Agency warned of its nuclear weapons development.

"Hundreds of North Korean scientists and engineers are working at about 10 nuclear and missile facilities in Iran, including Natanz," the source said. "They are apparently rotated every six months."

He said the North Koreans enter Iran clandestinely via third countries like Russia and China.

The IAEA warned that Iran has the necessary expertise and materials to build a nuclear weapon after receiving critical support from scientists from the former Soviet Union and North Korea, the Washington Post reported on Nov. 7

The North is under tight sanctions from the UN Security Council since it conducted two nuclear tests in 2006 and 2009, so any nuclear cooperation with Iran, if proven, would be a flagrant violation of these strictures.

The IAEA concluded that Iran has developed a nuclear explosive device and conducted computer-simulated nuclear tests between 2008 and 2009, a spokesman said last Tuesday.

Whether Iran actually possesses nuclear weapons is unclear, but it is clear that it is in a hurry to develop them, the UN nuclear watchdog added.

Pyongyang and Tehran have reportedly cooperated closely since they began developing short and medium-range missiles in the 1980s.

englishnews@chosun.com / Nov. 14, 2011 09:31 KST

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