Pyongyang: After Tehran attempted to launch a cruise missile from a “midget” submarine this week, intelligence reports claimed the vessel was based on a design from Kim Jong-un’s fleet that sank a South Korean warship in 2010.
US defence officials claimed Iran was attempting to launch a Jask-2 cruise missile underwater for the first time, but failed.
One official, who declined to be named, said: “When those midget subs are operating underwater, they are running on battery power, making themselves very quiet and hard to detect.”
The developments add weight to long-held suspicions by military experts that North Korea and Iran are sharing expertise on their missile programs.
Jeffrey Lewis, a missile proliferation expert at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey, in California, said: “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.” He added: “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.”
The Pentagon in January expressed concerns that Iran’s newest ballistic missiles were based on North Korean designs. Defence analysts have reportedly confirmed that North Korea’s Taepodong missile looks almost identical to Iran’s Shahab.
Tensions between North Korea and the US are still high after Pyongyang this week accused the CIA of plotting an assassination attempt on Kim Jong-un.