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Research fellow Amir Fakhravar: Tehran trades oil for nukes

In the article below, Amir Fakhravar, Research Fellow for IWP’s Center for Culture and Security, and co-author G. William Heiser discuss the relationship between Iran and North Korea. The article can be found on

Tehran Trades Oil for Nukes
By Amir Fakhravar and G. William Heiser

The collaboration between the world’s foremost nuclear proliferators appears to be accelerating.

In September 2012, the Islamic Republic of Iran and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea signed a bilateral scientific and technological agreement opening the way for nuclear as well as missile technology collaboration. In February 2013, North Korea tested, no doubt with Iranian scientists observing, a nuclear device which U.S. experts suspect may be based upon highly enriched uranium. A report just surfaced in Washington that North Korea may have acquired the capability to miniaturize nuclear warheads for delivery by ballistic missiles, another technological area in which Pyongyang is ahead of Tehran. And now, a North Korean delegation visits Iran to conclude a deal involving major exports of Iranian oil.

In a press conference on April 21, Iranian Oil Minister Rostam Ghasemi announced that an agreement between Iran and North Korea was signed and Iran will export 100,000 barrels of oil per day to North Korea. North Korea has no crude oil reserves of its own. This is a huge deal and North Korea does not have the cash to pay for it.

What would be of more value to Tehran than cash for its oil? Nuclear cooperation, of course.

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