North Korea’s Nuclear and Missile Programs

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October 10, 2006

North Korean, Iranian Nuclear Strategy on Schedule, Escalating

Analysis. By Gregory R. Copley, Editor, GIS, and Yossef Bodansky, Senior Editor, GIS. The detonation by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK: North Korea) on October 9, 2006, of a nuclear warhead was part of the programmed escalation of nuclear strategies by both the DPRK and Iran, exactly, as forecast by GIS/Defense & Foreign Affairs, and was the first of possibly two nuclear “tests” expected to be conducted in North Korea.

A second nuclear test site was seen being prepared even as the first detonation occurred. As well, contrary to Western media reporting, the detonation was of an actual weaponized device, not a scientific “device”, and was not the half-kiloton blast size reported, but, in fact, was a blast of between five and 15 kilotons. Iranian observers and participants were present at the first blast site, and were also reported to be at the second test site.

Russian sources, drawing on information from Tehran and elsewhere, indicated that the Iranian clerical Government was a substantial funding partner, as well as technical partner, of the DPRK nuclear tests and nuclear weapons program.

Also, as reported extensively by GIS/Defense & Foreign Affairs since 1992, the DPRK has already a large deployed force of nuclear weapons, mostly on medium-range ballistic missiles, such as the NoDong family of launch vehicles, and the TaepoDong-2 missiles.

GIS/Defense & Foreign Affairs on September 5, 2006, and September 12, 2006, exclusively forecast the imminent detonation of a DPRK nuclear warhead, and repeated and elaborated on the concerns on October 5, 2006.

What must be stated categorically, based on extensive intelligence from highly-reliable sources, is that the DPRK weapons demonstration of October 9, 2006, was not a “test” of nuclear capabilities, but a demonstration of already-deployed nuclear technology. The DPRK, as noted by GIS/Defense & Foreign Affairs in the past, already has a substantial force of deployed nuclear weapons. So, too, does Iran, with the latest of its nuclear weapons coming directly from the DPRK, while the earlier ones came from Kazakhstan and Ukraine.

The Iranian clerical Government must now be expected to find a way to “take advantage” of the DPRK demonstration in order to position itself as being “immune” from external attack, largely from the US and Israel. Once this deterrence posture is believed by the clerical Iranian leadership to have been understood by Israel and the West, then Iran would be free to make its strategic moves to engage Israel in a direct conflict, the plans for which have already been extensively discussed and prepared within the Iranian command structure.

Significantly, there is now pressure on the Iranian clerics to move quickly. Anti-Government riots began in Tehran on October 8, 2006, as a result of Government moves against a fellow (but opposition) cleric, Ayatollah Hossein Kazemeini-Boroujerdi. Supporters of the cleric gathered to denounce the Government and to call for national protests, but there were some indications that the Iranian intelligence community may have somehow been involved in the action, possibly to ensure that the anti-Government momentum remained within the clerical movement, and did not become a secular, nationalist movement.

The Iranian opposition website,, noted on October 9, 2006:

On Sunday morning, October 8, [2006], a massive number of agents of the Islamic regime, armed with the latest and most advanced European weaponry stormed the house of the anti-regime Ayatollah Hossein Kazemeini-Boroujerdi. Kazemeini-Boroujerdi has continually called for the separation of religion and government and has proclaimed that in the true rule of Shiite no cleric is permitted to be involved in political matters and that he must be nothing more than a spiritual guide.

For weeks since his first arrest and reported gang-rape of his entire family almost two months ago, hundreds of supporter who would sit in shifts in his house acted as his body guards. From the last days of September the regime began making group arrests of more than 150 of these “body guards”. The regime even took over a school next door to the Ayatollah’s house, temporarily canceling classes in order to use the location as their combat operations headquarters. They surrounded the neighborhood and by Friday night street fights had begun. By Sunday morning, approximately 150 more of the supporters who had stayed by the protesting Ayatollah’s side for the last two months offering him their protection were violently and brutally beaten and arrested. The Ayatollah — who was dressed in a death shroud, prepared to be taken — and every member of his family, his wife, daughters, sons, his brother and his wife too were also arrested but that was not enough; the regime’s agents, like a gang of bandits and marauders tore Kazemeini-Boroujerdi’s house apart and took every last bit of his property and movable assets, plundering his life’s belonging as booty.

Kazemeini-Boroujerdi in his speeches and sermons has been calling for the absolute majority of the people of Iran to overturn the regime of fundamentalist commandants and zealot politicians and has spoken of the complete separation of religion from all political structures; he has promoted the bolstering of a new government based on constitutional and cultural Iranian values as well as the recognized and inalienable declaration of human rights.

So the urgency for the divided and bickering clerical leadership of Iran — under Supreme Leader Ali Hoseini-Khamene’i and Pres. Mahmud Ahmadi-Nejad — to galvanize public support is growing, and with it the pressure to ignite a conflict which, theoretically, would cause Iranians to rally around the government-of-the-day as “Ayatollah” Ruhollah Khomeini did in 1982, embracing the war with Iraq to avoid removal by the Iranian public.

Significantly, although the Iranian Government aimed, with its international tour by former Pres. Mohammed Khatami and current Pres. Ahmadi-Nejad to the US in September 2006, to confuse and disrupt international policymaking toward Iran — and thus hold off US/Israeli military action against Iran — the DPRK nuclear tests and known Iranian involvement may well have served the incumbent, but embattled, US Republican Party in the run-up to the November 7, 2006, mid-term US Congressional elections. The activities (and particularly the nuclear demonstration) essentially drove troubling domestic issues off the news agenda at a critical time for the US George W. Bush Administration.

This could well spur the opposite reaction in Washington to the outcome desired in Pyongyang and Tehran: the survival of Republican Party control of the US House of Representatives and Senate. And this would ensure a continuation of the stronger US line against Iran, the DPRK, and Syria.