Pentagon officials have discovered additional evidence of North Korean influence in Iran, per Fox News. The observation was made when Iran attempted to launch a cruise missile from a “midget” submarine earlier this week. Jeffrey Lewis, a Middlebury Institute of International Studies missile proliferation expert, revealed that the first missiles seen in Iran were copies of North Korean missiles.
“The very first missiles we saw in Iran were simply copies of North Korean missiles… Over the years, we’ve seen photographs of North Korean and Iranian officials in each other’s countries, and we’ve seen all kinds of common hardware.”
U.S. defense officials told Fox News that the Iranian military tried to launch a Jask-2 cruise missile from a submarine in the Strait of Hormuz, but failed.
In 2010, the North Korean midget sub sank a 290-foot South Korean warship and killed over 40 sailors that were ambushed in shallow water. Additional evidence of North Korean influence is found in intelligence reports saying the submarine was based on a Pyongyang design. However, North Korea has adamantly denied any involvement in the sinking of the South Korean warship.
In the summer of 2016, Iran conducted a missile launch that was similar to a North Korean Musudan. The Musudan is by far the most advanced missile Pyongyang has tested so far. According to Fox News, defense analysts are saying North Korea’s Taepodong missile looks to be nearly identical to Iran’s Shahab.
“In the past, we would see things in North Korea and they would show up in Iran. In some recent years, we’ve seen some small things appear in Iran first and then show up in North Korea and so that raises the question of whether trade — which started off as North Korea to Iran — has started to reverse.”
Iran tested a ballistic missile in late January and the Pentagon said it was based on a North Korean design, according to Fox News.
Iran-North Korea Military Cooperation
Two unnamed U.S. officials said Iran launched a missile from a Ghadir-class “midget” submarine. According to the Daily Mail, the submarine is based on the Yono-class miniature submarines which are manufactured by North Korea. Iran and North Korea are the only two nations to operate this kind of vessel, according to the Daily Mail. In 2015, North Korea successfully launched a missile from a submarine for the first time. It is believed that Tehran is not far behind.
A United States defense official, who wished to remain anonymous, revealed how midget submarines manage to stay under the radar.
“When those midget subs are operating underwater, they are running on battery power—making themselves very quiet and hard to detect.”
In December of 2015, Iran fired off several unguided rockets near the USS Harry Truman aircraft carrier. During the time, the incident was labeled “highly provocative” by the U.S. Navy. The American aircraft carrier was only 1,500 yards away from the Iranian rockets.
According to multiple intelligence officials, the Islamic Republic attempted to launch a new type of ballistic missile using North Korean technology. This occurred in July of 2016, just two days before the anniversary of the nuclear agreement between Iran and world powers, Fox News reported.
The event was the first attempt by Iran to launch a version of the DPRK’s BM-25 Musudan ballistic missile. North Korea’s missile has a maximum range of nearly 2,500 miles. More information on North Korea’s involvement in the failed launch was not clear. It was confirmed that North Korea shared their technology, according to officials.
Rex Tillerson, U.S. secretary of state, made an attempt to garner more support for United Nations sanctions against North Korea by hosting leaders from Southeast Asia. This occurred just days after Iran’s first ballistic missile test during the Trump administration. The White House has since put Iran “on notice.”
North Korea and the U.S. tensions have mounted since Pyongyang accused the CIA of plotting an assassination attempt on Kim Jong-un.
[Featured Images by Vincent Yu/Vahid Salemi/AP Images]