N.Korea's Nuke Test 'Funded by Iran'

A neoconservative U.S. website claims to have put two and two together and discovered that North Korea's latest nuclear test was planned and funded by Iran.

WorldTribune.com said, "It was, in essence, a test of an Iranian nuclear weapon, and involved scientific as well as financial involvement by the Iranian government."

"The North Korean tests -- particularly the February 12, 2013, test -- were to prove Iranian weapon design efficacy," the website added.

The article was headed, "Connecting the dots: N. Korea's nuke was bought and paid for by a key end-user -- Iran."

The "dots" it proposed to connect based on unnamed "intelligence sources" include that there were "significant numbers of Iranians present at the test site"; and that there was "a large satcom terminal" near the entrance to the test site, which was "unusual.”

The U.K.'s Sunday Times earlier reported, "Iran's leading nuclear scientist, Mohsen Fakhrizadeh-Mahabadi, is believed to have travelled to North Korea to observe its third nuclear test."

The paper, which is owned by Fox News proprietor Rupert Murdoch, a lively advocate of U.S. military action against Iran, also cited unnamed "western intelligence sources."

The paper claimed Fakhrizadeh-Mahabadi is in charge of developing miniaturized nuclear warheads that could fit on Iran's Shahab-3 missile, which is based on a North Korean model.

Fakhrizadeh-Mahabadi risked assassination by the Israeli intelligence service Mossad by leaving Iran, the Sunday Times speculated. "His trip may have been worth the risk because North Korea's triumphant announcement of the blast hinted that it was a compact, powerful device."

Already on Friday, Japan's Kyodo News reported Iran paid Pyongyang tens of millions of dollars in Chinese currency to observe the test.

Israel is also paying keen attention to a possible nuclear connection between the two countries and has long been pushing for a U.S. attack on Iran.

englishnews@chosun.com / Feb. 20, 2013 12:11 KST