Crossfire War – TEHRAN WATCH – Northeast Asia Theatre: Tehran – Pyongyang – Beijing/Seoul – Tokyo – Moscow – Washington; Pyongyang Announces Nuclear Tests – Tehran States International Community Weakened – North Korea Strengthened – Seoul Places Military on High Alert – Putin – Bush Confer on Phone – Discuss Coordinated (military) Action
Night Watch: PYONGYANG – Confirmation of Suspicion – North Korea continued to fulfill its agreements and obligations to Iran’s nuclear program by announcing today it had carried out a nuclear bomb test.
Crossfirewar.com reported last November that Tehran had told Pyongyang that if North Korea continues to export nuclear and ballistic missile technology then Iran will send them free oil and gas. As a result of the test Seoul has placed its armed forces on high alert while the American units stationed there are in a state of prepardness. Tokyo has formed a task force to review its response and its relations with Pyongyang and even indicated it may act on its own. There are also reports that investors are withdrawing money out of Tokyo financial markets.[JAPANTIMES]
I suspect Tokyo, quite rightly, has no faith in the United Nations Security Council where Beijing could veto any serious economic sanctions. Only China has more influence on North Korea’s economy than Iran. Their economic axis was formed years ago along with their military one. South Korean intelligence suspects other tests are ongoing since they have detected unusual activity at a nuclear test site. North Korea has thousands of abandoned coal mines where nuclear tests can be conducted. Beijing-Tehran have long been using North Korea as a weapons test-proving ground for advanced weaponry.
AKI quoted Ali Khorram, an Iranian political analyst who stated that “… at this point the UN will not be able to do anything against a Korea with nuclear weapons… with this test Korea has strengthened its positions, disarming the UN and the international community.” Tehran is of course assuming that the international community is powerless when it comes to economic sanctions because of Beijing and will never seriously consider military action against North Korea. But the situation is more immediate now. Economic lifelines are at stake for the entire industrialized world and it realizes that a nuclear armed Iran is the greatest threat to their strategic economic contacts in seventy years. [AKI]
Tehran of course did not hear the phone converstation between Russian President Vladimir Putin and U. S. President George W. Bush. RIA reports that Bush telephoned Putin right after Pyongyang’s announcement. Both heads of state acknowledged this undermines completely the world’s non-proliferation effort against the distribution of weapons of mass destruction. The Kremlin Press Office released this statement which said that Putin and Bush, “Share a view that North Korea’s ostentatious action undermines the non-proliferation regime, and stress the need for coordinated action to resolve the issue.” Moscow was the first to confirm the tests had been carried out. Russia Defense Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Ivanov said the power of the explosion was the equivalent of 5,000-15,000 tons of TNT. [RIA]
Debka reported President Bush’s immediate concerns with his response, that North Korea is “one of the world’s leading proliferators of weapons technology including transfers to Iran and Syria. The transfer of nuclear weapons to states or non-state (terrorist) entities would be considered a grave threat to the United States. And we would hold North Korea fully accountable to the consequences of such actions.” Neither Bush or Putin have any faith in the Security Council either though they know that statements will be made through it. [DEBKA]
I suspect that as Pyongyang continues to conduct tests and exports, that the Allies in Northeast Asia, Moscow – Seoul – Tokyo – Washington will justify the military attacks on North Korea’s test facilities citing lack of compliance with the non-proliferation regime as justification. That will shock Tehran and be a huge blow to its projection on the expansion of its nuclear weapons and procurement program. Their first serious setback. As an example the Kremlin may soon announce a suspension of their nuclear cooperation with Iran. Moscow has been deliberately delaying the completion of Iran’s Bushehr nuclear facility. It was supposed to have been in operation at least four years ago, now Moscow is saying perhaps by late 2007.