The similarities between Iran and North Korea (NK) are too blaring to overlook. Yet, the media seems to overlook them.
Both worked covertly over years on nuclear weapons, both worth diligently on the development of the delivery systems of such nuclear weapons, by advancing a ballistic missile program, with nuclear warhead capability. Both pose an immediate and dangerous threat to their direct surroundings (NK to South Korea and Iran to the ME). Both release hate rhetoric against the west, develop and implement cyber warfare and oppress/terrorize their own citizens. In addition, both hold innocent Americans hostage as bargaining chips. As reported in cnn North Korea just detained a fourth American hostage. Thus, in light of the above, it is only natural that they should also cooperate intimately.
As documented and analyzed, Iran and NK enjoy a long term strategic collaboration. According to a newly released academic article on this topic, NK allegedly assisted Iran’s nuclear program, Iran assisted in the upgrading of many of NK strategic capabilities. They transferred between themselves sensitive technologies, visited and counseled each other on stealthy strategic sites. Their main commonality was summed up by the supreme leader in his words “Iran and NK have common enemies”. Secretary of State Tillerson himself compared Iran to NK vowing that the Trump administration will not pass the buck.
Some have spoken recently on this issue, warning that the hard lesson to be learnt from the failure from preventing North Korean nuclear acquisition is that we must stop Iran from ever developing or acquiring a nuclear arsenal. A nuclear Iran would be far more dangerous to American interests than a nuclear NK. It would seem that Iran is watching and learning from the North Korean example. Iran will either learn deterrence, or it will be taught to increase its aggression.
It is surprising therefore that the media seems to overlook this strategic alliance in its coverage of North Korea. Only recently the US and NK entered a new level of tension. Things escalated quickly, including an exchange of accusations, over-heated rhetoric, deployment of military gear and even para-military action.
Trump called NK “a real threat to the world” and Kim Jong-un threatened “to sink the US aircraft carrier with one strike”. The US deployed the USS Michigan and the US Carl Vinson in the region, and summoned the entire senate for a special briefing on NK. The Korean’s displayed muscle with their refusal to cancel long range ballistic missile tests and their 85th “Army Day” Parade.
Both sides have way beyond rhetoric. The cyber-attack against Sony in the US was attributed to North Korea, while the failed ballistic missile tests in North Korea were attributed to the US. The last minute attempt to calm things down, by the expression of willingness by Trump to meet the North Korean leader, got drowned in the public accusation by NK that the US planned to assassinate Kim Jong-un.
If the events have any wider reaching implications, they begin with Iran. And it is amazing that the media does not dwell at length on these implications.