Failed Submarine-Launched Cruise Missile Test Boosts US Concern Over Iran-North Korea Military Alliance
Iran’s unsuccessful test launch of a cruise missile from a submarine in the strategically vital Strait of Hormuz on Tuesday is fueling the Trump administration’s concern about the Islamic Republic’s growing military spending, as well as the Tehran regime’s long-standing cooperation with North Korea on military hardware development.
US officials said that an Iranian Yono-class “midget” submarine conducted the missile launch on Tuesday, but the test failed.
The Yono is produced by North Korea, which both exports the submarine and uses it in its own navy. A North Korean Yono submarine is believed to have launched the torpedo that sank a South Korean navy vessel in March 2010.
Tuesday’s failed test also provided US intelligence with further insight into the collaboration between Iran and North Korea on missile development, experts said.
“The very first missiles we saw in Iran were simply copies of North Korean missiles,” Jeffrey Lewis, a missile proliferation expert at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey told Fox News this week. “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.”
Writing in the North Korea specialist publication NKPro, Tal Inbar — head of the Space & UAV center at the Fisher Institute for Air and Space Strategic Studies in Israel — noted that the tests recently conducted by North Korea involved precision missiles developed with Iranian military technology.
“The ‘accuracy revolution’ is a process we see in many countries’ rockets and missile forces,” Inbar wrote. “North Korea’s close ally, Iran, which bought the technical know-how on ballistic missiles from North Korea, introduced a new generation of ballistic missiles with a forward section containing a set of movable fins and guidance equipment.”
Among these missiles, Inbar said, was the Iranian EMAD, which is virtually identical to the North Korean Rodong missile.
The spotlight on the Iran-North Korea axis comes at a time of escalating tensions between the US and both countries. The US recently dispatched the USS Carl Vinson to the waters off the Korean Peninsula following a new round of threats from North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un.
In an interview with The Algemeiner in March, David Albright — head of the Institute for Science and International Security think tank in Washington, DC — urged the Trump administration to pay attention to any potential nuclear cooperation between Iran and North Korea.