Iran is preparing for an underground nuclear test with North Korean help before year’s end – London Daily Telegraph

The British paper, quoting a senior European source, reports that North Korea is helping Iran prepare an underground nuclear test similar to the one Pyongyang carried out last October 9. In his State of the Union speech Wednesday, Jan. 23, US president George Bush said: “The United Nations has imposed sanctions on Iran and made it clear that the world will not allow … Tehran to acquire nuclear weapons.”
Bush did not explain what his intentions were. Iran has faced no threats of military action to thwart its acquisition of nuclear weapons except in veiled suggestions by the US and Israel.
On Sept 13, debkafile revealed exclusively that 12 days before the North Korean test, an Iranian military delegation was admitted to the Yongbyon reactor (picture) and Punggye-ri testing site in northeast North Korea. They were allowed to witness some of North Korea’s preparations for its first nuclear test with a view to sharing part of its knowledge with Iran. It was suspected in Washington and Jerusalem then that the North Koreans would actively help Iran get ready for its first underground nuclear test.
debkafile‘s military sources report the word going around Western intelligence in recent weeks is that Tehran has already managed mock tests by computer simulations. This would place a real test only months away and mean that a breakthrough on the Iranian nuclear program has been accelerated to a much earlier date than anticipated by the US and Israel.
Ahead of the Bush speech of Wednesday, Iran took two steps: The Revolutionary Guards launched a three-day exercise to test its short-range surface missiles and it barred 38 inspectors of the International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna from looking over its nuclear sites. Tehran is not severing its ties with the nuclear watchdog, a spokesman explained later.
European nuclear and military experts estimate that no more than 12 months would separate an underground test from the manufacture of an operational half-kiloton bomb. This means that an Iran may well have acquired the ability to produce a nuclear bomb by the end of 2008.

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