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NKorea and Iran cooperate in missile devp: US

By Staff
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Google Oneindia News

Washington, Jan 30: North Korea and Iran are cooperating indeveloping long-range missiles, says the Washington Times, quoting theDeputy Director of the Pentagon's Missile Defence Agency.

The daily says Army Brig Gen Patrick O'Reilly said during a speechyesterday that North Korea test-fired a long-range Taepodong missile inJuly, and Iran was working on a space launcher that would help developan intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) that could hit the US.

''Not only North Korea, but Iran has shown some significantdevelopments in their (own) missile systems,'' Gen O'Reilly said in aspeech to the George C Marshall Institute.

''They are working in concert with the North Koreans,'' he said.

''They have made a claim that they are working towards developinga space launch capability, which also would give them an ICBMcapability.'' The Pentagon believes that Iran has ''a newintermediate-range ballistic missile or space launch vehicle (SLV) indevelopment,'' a Missile Defence Agency briefing slide stated.

The Iranians are ''likely to develop an ICBM/SLV and could have anICBM capable of reaching the US before 2015,'' the daily says quotingthe briefing chart.

One of the new missiles would be solid-fueled, making it capableof being launched rapidly, and have a range of 1,240 miles, enough tohit targets throughout Europe from Iran.

The daily says the speech marked for the first time the Pentagonpublicly disclosed the missile cooperation between Pyongyang and Tehran.

The North Koreans test fired a Taepodong-2 on July 4 but themissile failed 40 seconds after the launch, Gen O'Reilly said. Thetwo-stage version has a range of 6,200 miles and the three-stageversion can travel 9,300 miles.

''But the indications are clear that they are continuing to strive to expand their ballistic missile capability,'' he said.

The US missile defence system was made operational before theNorth Korean tests and the forces involved ''performed very well,'' GenO'Reilly said.

Another briefing chart used during the speech stated that if theTaepodong-2 had threatened the United States, ''we are confident theballistic missile defence system would have operated as designed.'' Thedaily says another briefing chart revealed for the first time thatNorth Korea is developing a new intermediate-range missile with a rangeof about 2,000 miles that was described as ''a qualitative improvementin performance'' from earlier missile systems. North Korea's July tests-seven missiles were fired -- included two 806-mile range Nodongmissiles, he said.


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