Marie Harf, a spokeswoman for the State Department, dismissed as “bizarre” the reports, which described the transfer of enriched uranium and ballistic missile technology back and forth between the two rogue regimes.
If Iran is not forced to disclose the full extent and nature of its outside nuclear work to the United States, there is virtually no avenue to guarantee that it is living up to its promises made in the negotiating room, according to multiple experts and sources in Europe apprised of the ongoing talks.
Gordon Chang, a North Korea expert who has written in recent days about Iran’s possible “secret program” there, described the State Department’s dismissal of these reports as naïve.
“Let me see if I get this straight: The country with the world’s most highly developed technical intelligence capabilities does not know what has been in open sources for years?” Chang said. “No wonder North Korea transfers nuclear weapons technology to Iran and others with impunity.”
“The North Koreans could go on CNN and say, ‘Hey, Secretary Kerry, we’re selling the bomb to Iran,’ and the State Department would still say they know nothing about it,” Chang said. “No wonder we’re in such trouble.”
Ali Alfoneh and Reuel Marc Gerecht, both senior fellows at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD), have revealed that a nuclear reactor destroyed in Syria in 2007 by Israel was likely a North Korean-backed Iranian project.
“It certainly appears that the administration has backed away from [previous military dimensions] questions,” Gerecht said. “The plan appears to be to let the [International Atomic Energy Agency] continue its so far fruitless effort to gain access to sensitive sites, personnel, and paperwork, but to keep these questions out of the talks.”
“The administration is doing this because it fears the Iranians would walk out,” he added. “Any military work revealed by the Iranians would prove the Supreme Leader and [President] Rouhani liars.
“The White House wants to believe that monitoring of known sites will be sufficient. It’s a bit mystifying given the Iranian track record and the CIA’s longstanding inability to penetrate the nuclear-weapons program (it’s just too hard of a target to do this reliably),” he explained. “But since they fear a breakdown, they bend their credulity in Iran’s favor. This has been the story of the negotiations from the beginning.”
Another potential complication includes the ability of international inspectors to discern the extent of Iran’s nuclear work in Syria.
“Syria’s current chaos makes it virtually impossible for inspectors to do their job even if the Syrians were compliant,” according to Emanuele Ottolenghi, a onetime advisor to foreign ministries in Europe.
There is no way to determine whether Syria is housing any other nuclear sites on behalf of the Iranian, according to Ottolenghi, another senior fellow at FDD.
“Syria has covered up its nuclear activities after the 2007 [Israeli Air Force] raid on Deir al-Azour,” he said. “After four years of inconclusive efforts, the [International Atomic Energy Agency] ended up deferring the issue to the [United Nations Security Council] after declaring Syria in non-compliance.”
Full article: Experts: Iran Housing Nuke Materials in North Korea, Syria (Washington Free Beacon)