North Korea tested Iranian warhead or “dirty
bomb” in 2010 for $55m DEBKAfile Exclusive Report March 5, 2012, 1:19 PM (GMT+02:00)
North Korea Iran nuclear dirty bomb
German and Japanese intelligence sources Monday, March 5, confirmed – and
qualified - to debkafile
reports in the German Der Spiegel and Welt am Sonntag that Western intelligence
had known for 11 months that at least one of North Korea’s covert nuclear tests
in 2010 was carried out on an Iranian radioactive bomb or nuclear
warhead.Those sources report five facts are known for sure:
1. North Korea carried out two covert underground nuclear explosions in
mid-April and around May 11 of 2010 equivalent to 50- 200 tonnes of TNT.2.
Two highly lethal heavy hydrogen isotopes, deuterium and tritium, typical of a
nuclear fission explosion and producing long-term contamination of the
atmosphere, were detected and analyzed by Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty
Organization (CTBOTO) monitoring stations in South Korea, Japan and Russia.
3. The presence of tritium in one of the tests led several intelligence
agencies watching North Korea’s nuclear program and its longstanding links with
Iran and Syria to examine the possibility that Pyongyang had tested the internal
mechanism of a nuclear warhead on Iran’s behalf. This strongly indicated to
German and Japanese intelligence that Iran had already developed the nuclear
warhead’s outer shell and attained its weaponization.4. Another possibility
examined was that North Korea had tested an Iranian “dirty bomb” – i.e. a
conventionally detonated device containing nuclear substances. Tritium would
boost its range, force and lethality.
This was one of the conclusions of atmospheric scientist Larsk-Erik De Geer
of the Swedish Defense Research Agency in Stockholm, who spent a year studying
the data collected by various CTBOTO stations tracking the North Korean
explosions.On February 3, De Greer published some of his findings and
conclusions in Nature Magazine. His paper will appear in the April/May issue of
the Science and Global Security Journal.
5. The Japanese and German sources found confirmation of their suspicions
that North Korea had abetted Iran’s nuclear aspirations in three events:
a) Shortly after the April explosion, a large group of Iranian nuclear
scientists and technicians arrived in Pyongyang. They apparently came to take
part in setting up the second test in May.b) In late April, Tehran shipped
to Pyongyang a large quantity of uranium enriched to 20+ percent – apparently
for use in the May test.c) Straight after the May test, the Central Bank of
Iran transferred $55 million to the account of the North Korean Atomic Energy
Commission. The size of the sum suggests that it covered the fee to North Korea
not just of one but the two tests – the first a pilot and the second, a
It is not by chance that this incriminating disclosure about Iran’s nuclear
achievements sees the light Monday, just hours before US Barack Obama receives
Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu in the White house for an argument
over an expeditious military action to stop Iran going all the way to a nuclear
weapon.The disclosure invalidates the main point the US President made in
his speech Sunday to the pro-Israeli lobby AIPAC convention in Washington that
there was still time for diplomatic pressure and sanctions to bring Iran’s
leaders to a decision to halt their nuclear momentum before military action was
called for, whether by the US or Israel.
It now appears that Western intelligence has known about the North Korean
tests for Iran for eleven months. Therefore, it is too late for him to try and
persuade the Israeli prime minister that there is still time to spare for
cutting short a nuclear Iran.
It was announced in Washington Monday that no joint American-Israeli
communiqué would be issued at the end of their talks, meaning they will have
agreed to disagree: Obama, to stand by his opposition to military action against
Iran; Netanyahu, to decide what Israel must do in the interests of its security.