Skip to comments.OPINION: North Korean Nuclear Test Could Trigger Conflict In Middle East(Iran nuke& Israel attack)
Posted on 04/20/2012 5:25:40 AM PDT by TigerLikesRooster
18:30 19 April
OPINION: North Korean Nuclear Test Could Trigger Conflict In Middle East
By Leonard Spector
WASHINGTON, April 19, Kyodo
Although the April 13 talks in Istanbul on curtailing Iran's nuclear program made little progress, they set the stage for serious negotiations to begin in May. Developments in North Korea, however, could cut the process short, if a North Korean nuclear test exacerbates fears that Pyongyang and Tehran are collaborating on the design of a nuclear weapon.
Such collaboration would be the natural evolution of past collaboration on intermediate-range missiles. During the 1990s, Pyongyang sold Iran the No-Dong system, known in Iran as the Shahab III, which gave the Iranians the ability to strike Israel with missiles for the first time. Later, North Korea transferred the know-how for Iran to build the system domestically. But Iran also reportedly assisted North Korea. From 1999-2003, when North Korea, as part of an agreement with the United States, was implementing a moratorium on testing No Dong-range and more powerful missiles, Iran repeatedly tested the No Dong/Shahab III, with North Korean specialists participating in the tests, according to many reports.
Collaboration between the two countries in the nuclear realm has not been confirmed but both countries have built uranium enrichment plants based on technology provided by Pakistani nuclear specialist A.Q. Khan. Khan provided the two countries with a basic uranium enrichment centrifuge, known as the P-1, and a more advanced version, the P-2. Either system could be used to produce highly enriched uranium for nuclear weapons.
Iran's uranium enrichment program, exposed in 2002, has been based on the P-1, and Tehran has had difficulty mastering the P-2. In November 2010, North Korea, however, revealed a previously secret uranium enrichment facility of its own based on the P-2. Given past patterns of collaboration between the two countries in the missile area, cooperative efforts between to perfect the P-2 would hardly be a surprise, especially in light of Pyongyang's desperate need for hard currency and Tehran's urgent need to advance its nuclear program. Indeed, North Korea is reported to have built a plant in Iran to produce highly specialized maraging steel, used for the P-2's. (The facility was destroyed in an explosion in December 2012.)
Khan is also believed to have given both states the design of a Chinese weapon that uses highly enriched uranium as its core. Some Western officials fear that to compensate for the embarrassment of its failed April 12 satellite launch, North Korea's new leader Kim Jong Un will conduct the country's third nuclear test, detonating a weapon using weapon-grade uranium. The North's previous two tests used plutonium as the core of the tested devices.
The consequences in the Middle East could be particularly troubling. At the moment, one factor restraining Israel from attacking Iranian nuclear sites -- and potentially triggering a wider war in the region -- is the belief that Iran halted its efforts to develop the non-nuclear parts for a nuclear weapon (its ''weaponization'' program) in 2003. This would mean that even if Iran produced weapon-grade uranium, which it has the capacity to do, but has so far refrained from doing, it would still need to restart its weaponization effort and manufacture the non-nuclear parts for a weapon before posing an immediate threat. This, the U.S. has argued to Israel, means there is still time to pursue the current set of talks to limit Iran's nuclear program, before use of military force might be needed.
But if North Korea and Iran are collaborating on developing a uranium-based nuclear weapon, the time Iran might need to build its bomb would be cut short. And if the design were confirmed in a North Korean nuclear test -- in which Iran might be participating, just as the North participated in Iranian tests of the No Dong/Shahab III -- anxieties in Israel could be further heightened and the risks of an Israeli air strike greatly increased.
Indeed, the most powerful reverberations of the North Korean blast could be felt thousands of miles away.
(Leonard S. Spector is deputy director of the Monterey Institute's James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies and heads its Washington office. Formerly he served as assistant deputy administrator for arms control and nonproliferation at the U.S. National Nuclear Security Administration.)
Obama is out of his league, not to mention disloyal, on this extremely clear and presentAsian danger, and a military coup may be a logical result to save the troops, our ally the ROK and the very Republic, itself.
The plutonium implosion bomb design used in the "Fat Man" bomb dropped on Nagasaki was tested Alamagordo, New Mexico in July 1945. There was enough concern about whether this bomb would work that a large steel containment vessel was made to encapsulate the bomb and recover the precious plutonium if the bomb fizzled. The contain vessel however was not used in the test.
Do we have any assurance that the upcoming nuke test in North Korea isn’t really an IRANIAN nuke?
The Iranians couldn’t test-fire their long-anticipated device anywhere on Earth without getting caught, then all hell would be unleashed. Well, no place on Earth would be safe for them except for a tunnel in a North Korean hillside ...
Yeah, the best way to prevent it is to let Iran get the Bomb.
(that’s got a /s after it)
Pyongyang sold Iran the No-Dong system