Iran and North Korea working on 80-ton rocket booster
Iranian collaboration with North Korea on a new rocket booster for long-range missiles undermines the deal with Tehran on its nuclear program, key Senate and House Republicans said on Tuesday.
“While the president was undertaking his secret negotiations—which Congress wasn’t informed of—he had to know Iran and North Korea were testing new engines for ballistic missiles to target the United States,” said Rep. Mike Rogers (R., Ala.) chairman of the House Armed Services subcommittee on strategic forces.
Rogers said in a statement that despite sharp budget cuts, U.S. space monitoring systems would not miss the development of the new booster engine.
“Every day the president’s deal looks worse and worse,” Rogers said when asked about the Tehran-Pyongyang missile collaboration.
In the Senate, Sen. Ted Cruz (R., Texas) also criticized the Iran nuclear deal for not addressing the threat of Iran’s ICBM program.
Reports of Iran-North Korea ICBM collaboration follow new anti-America and anti-Israel outbursts from the Islamist regime in Tehran, Cruz said.
“The Iranian regime is clearly demonstrating through word and deed that they have no intention of moderating the behavior that earned them one of the harshest international programs of economic sanctions on record,” Cruz told the Washington Free Beacon. “Relaxing the sanctions now only encourages them to continue their pursuit of nuclear weapons–and the means to deliver them to Israel, Europe and even the United States. I hope President Obama and Secretary [of State John] Kerry will reconsider this dangerous policy and add the immediate cessation of their ICBM program to the list of prerequisites placed on Iran before any additional negotiations take place.”
Intelligence reports indicated that as recently as late October Iranian technicians from the Shahid Hemmat Industrial Group (SHIG), a defense organization that builds liquid-fueled missiles, were in Pyongyang collaborating on the booster development.
SHIG has been sanctioned in the past by both the U.S. government and the United Nations for illicit missile transfers.
U.S. officials said the new booster could be used on both a space launcher and a long-range missile. Iran and North Korea are believed by U.S. intelligence agencies to be using their space programs to mask long-range missile development.
Officials said the covert missile cooperation indicates the Iranians are continuing to build long-range strategic missiles that can be used to deliver nuclear warheads at the same time they are negotiating limits on illicit uranium enrichment.
Intelligence assessments have said that both countries could test a missile capable of reaching the United States with a nuclear warhead within the next two years.
Full article: Iran-North Korea Missile Cooperation Undermines Recent Geneva Nuclear Deal (Washington Free Beacon)