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January 6, 2016 1:27 pm

Israeli Energy Minister Urges Greater Intelligence-Sharing With US to Prevent Repeat of North Korea Scenario: ‘Deal First, Nuclear Bomb Later’

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Israeli Minister of National Infrastructure, Energy and Water Resources Yuval Steinitz. Photo: Olaf Kosinsky/ Wiki Commons.

Israeli Minister of National Infrastructure, Energy and Water Resources Yuval Steinitz. Photo: Olaf Kosinsky/ Wiki Commons.

North Korea’s purported hydrogen bomb test proves Israel and the United States should strengthen their intelligence-sharing to ensure Iran abides by the nuclear deal, Israeli Minister of National Infrastructure, Energy and Water Resources Yuval Steinitz told the Israel Atomic Energy Commission (IAEC) on Wednesday.

Otherwise, Steinitz warned, the world risks “a sequel” of the formula in North Korea — “deal first, nuclear bomb later,” he said, according to Israel Radio.

Israeli critics of the July 14 nuclear deal between Iran and world powers have often compared it to the 1994 agreed framework between the US and North Korea, which ultimately failed to prevent the country from developing nuclear bombs. The nuclear deal between Iran and world powers lifts economic sanctions against Iran, in exchange for restrictions on its nuclear program.

The threat from a nuclear North Korea extends beyond the Far East, Steinitz told the IAEC, which he oversees. North Korea was apparently helping Syria develop a nuclear reactor in Deir az-Zur, which was destroyed by Israel in 2007, and probably shared nuclear know-how with Iran as well, he said.

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Steinitz was formerly intelligence minister, also under Israel’s Prime Minister Netanyahu, and was a vocal critic of negotiations with Iran, its nuclear program and the final deal, which Netanyahu called a “historic mistake.”

North Korea’s purported testing of a hydrogen bomb came after Iran’s controversial ballistic missile tests in October and December, which triggered US condemnation and threats of more sanctions, though they were reportedly delayed.

Iran is barred from testing ballistic missiles capable of carrying nuclear warheads, according to UN Security Council resolution 1929. On Wednesday, Iran broadcast footage on state television showing a ballistic missile bunker and a precision-guided Emad missile with a claimed 1,000-mile range.

Member of Knesset Michael Oren, former Israeli ambassador to the US (2009-2013), also compared the situation in North Korea to Iran with similar cinematic language.

“North Korea’s test is a promo for the future of Iran’s nuclear program,” he said, according to Israeli news website nrg. “A similar agreement; the same promises to the world; but Iran is much more dangerous.”

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