n Sept. 8, 2020, a meeting took place between Mojtaba Zolnouri, the chairman of the Iranian parliament’s National Security and Foreign Policy Commission, and North Korean Ambassador to Iran Han Sung-joo. The meeting was held to discuss the launch of financial and barter networks between the two countries. U.S. Special Representative for Iran and Venezuela Elliott Abrams responded by saying, “We are very concerned about Iran‘s cooperation with North Korea. …We will be watching the cooperation with North Korea very carefully and doing what we can to prevent it.”
A senior U.S. administration official who preferred to remain anonymous recently said that “Iran and North Korea have resumed cooperation in the framework of a project on long-range missiles that includes the transfer of core components,” a venture that is subject to interpretation. A “transfer of core components” might well extend beyond items related to solely conventional-warhead-carrying missiles. No matter what it will in fact entail, the transfer will likely be insufficiently monitored due to the parties’ ability to make untraceable transfers on land across their contiguous territories. Non-commercial transportation flights along the same uninterrupted corridor are also not easily monitored.
The other two countries in the contiguous nexus, China and Pakistan, are not likely to interfere. On the contrary: they are essential parts of the complex.
The Pyongyang regime is an unpredictable and often indecipherable tyranny, and a proliferator of WMDs plus ballistics expertise and components. It is a threatening element for the following reasons:
• It managed to avoid any agreement with the United States regarding its development of ballistic and nuclear capabilities.
• It possesses nuclear, biological and chemical weapon arsenals.
• It may be actively assisting the Iranian nuclear weapons program.
• There is a concealed terrestrial interface between North Korea and Pakistan via China. Intelligence satellites have detected that the Karakoram Highway has been used to supply illicit nuclear material and dual-use items for missiles.