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Saturday, November 01, 2008

In the Middle of Iran Nuclear Muddle

Fresh report surfaced to indicate that a few weeks ago India cooperated with US to block North Korean communists from supplying arms, possibly nuclear but more likely ballistic missile parts, to Iran.

According to the Western and Asian officials, the North Korean plane, an Ilyushin-62 long-range jet owned by the North Korean state airline, made a stop in Myanmar on Aug. 7 and sought permission from Indian air-traffic controllers to fly over Indian airspace. India eventually blocked the flight at Washington's behest, the officials said.

Neither the White House nor the Indian prime minister's office would comment on the operation or describe the cargo believed to be aboard the plane.
The cooperation was probably under the US-lead Proliferation Security Initiative, although India hasn't formally signed on to the initiative. PSI is primarily related to nuclear, chemical, and biological and related materials. It's highly unlikely N. Korea would be supplying nuclear material to Iran at this stage of the six-party on-again off-again talks. But it came when N.Korea was playing its usual game of repairing the recently dismantled Yongbyon nuclear facility to make Washington bend its demands. Washington eventually did by removing N. Korea off its terror sponsoring nations list over the objections of Japanese, who are still waiting on N. Korean cooperation to track down kidnapped Japanese citizens decades ago at the height of cold war.

If it were nuclear material that were being shipped to Iran, Washington would have gone ballistic. As the article indicates, it was probably missiles components. Washington and Israel, and also India, would still have to be very concerned that Iran would have the delivery capacity to supplement its fast moving nuclear weapons program. Iran, just like Pakistan, already has fairly advanced missile program courtesy of N. Korea.

But the irony of the cooperation was that the Kolkata International Airport denied permission to the N. Korean plane, waiting in Myanmar, to fly over India to its destination. One has to wonder what the communists reaction would be when they find out New Delhi ordered their communist city to comply with American request.