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Iran: No nuke talks with North Korea, ‘only economy’

Iran and North Korea

Iran and North Korea

The Jakarta Post, Nusa Dua, Bali | Sat, 05/28/2011 12:44 PM

While confirming his meeting with his North Korean counterpart Pak Ui-chun on the sidelines of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) conference here on Thursday, Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi denied Friday that he has talked about suspected cooperation between Iran and North Korea on nuclear weapons and missile technology.

Separately, 120 NAM country members issued a statement calling for the total elimination of nuclear weapons after the four-day meeting.

“The ministers reiterated their deep concern about the threat to humanity posed by the continued existence of nuclear weapons and of their possible use or threat of use, and reaffirmed that nuclear disarmament remains the highest priority of the movement in the field of disarmament,” the NAM’s ministers said in their statement.

After meeting with Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa, Salehi said that he had met with Pak, but denied that he and his North Korean counterpart had discussed exchange of nuclear weapon materials and missile technology.

“We just talked about economic cooperation,” Salehi said.

Marty said that he was unaware of the North Korea-Iran meeting. “In fact, I don’t have to know about that,” he said.

A recent report by a UN panel of experts said that North Korea appeared to have been sharing technology and expertise with Iran, which was a violation of sanctions.

Beijing blocked the publication of the review, which accused Pyongyang of breaching sanctions designed to tackle its nuclear weapon and missile programs, the Associated Press reported. “We refute such a report. We never break any regulations,” Salehi said.

The Guardian reported earlier that prohibited ballistic missile-related items were suspected to have been transferred on regular scheduled flights of Air Koryo and Iran Air, with trans-shipment through a neighboring third country. A number of UN diplomats accused that the third country was China.

However, China subsequently denied the accusation, saying that, on the issue of denuclearization on the Korean peninsula, the Chinese position was crystal clear, “We have nothing to hide.”

The UN panel report said the implementation of sanctions needed to be improved, with North Korea becoming increasingly sophisticated in exploiting loopholes in transportation systems and using methods such as shell and front companies.

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