Iran and North Korea resumed joint development of long-range missiles in 2020, according to a report submitted to the U.N. Security Council Monday, reported AFP, which saw a copy of the report.
“This resumed cooperation is said to have included the transfer of critical parts, with the most recent shipment associated with this relationship taking place in 2020,” states the report, which was compiled by what was termed “an independent panel of U.N. experts.”
Tehran has denied any such cooperation with North Korea, which the report contends “maintained and developed its nuclear and ballistic-missile programs, in violation of U.N. Security Council resolutions.”
According to the report, Pyongyang also sought material and technology for these programs from overseas and also produced fissile material.
Asked if the report would cause the United State to mistrust Iran’s intentions “even more,” U.S. State Department spokesman Ned Price said in a press briefing on Tuesday that the information would not change America’s strategic orientation towards Iran.
“If the old adage is trust and verify, in this case, it may be mistrust and verify,” said Price, adding that the United States will continue to use a variety of tools to prevent the further advancement of Iran’s missile program and its ability to proliferate the technology to others, including North Korea.
Price said those tools include “working with our partners to stop specific shipments of equipment and technology to these programs, using our engagement in multilateral fora to raise awareness of Iran’s missile activities, [urging] countries to take steps to address these activities, and finally, imposing nonproliferation sanctions pursuant to our domestic authorities against entities supporting Iran’s missile program.”
He reiterated that America’s goal if it were to rejoin the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or JCPOA—the 2015 nuclear accord that the Trump administration withdrew from in May 2018—is not only to bring Iran back to full compliance with agreed-upon parameters. It’s also to “lengthen and strengthen” the deal, and use it as a “platform for follow-on agreements to include other areas of Iran’s malign activities.”