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U.S. must re-examine N.K.-Iran nuclear, missile ties: Bolton

All Headlines 07:07 July 17, 2017

WASHINGTON, July 16 (Yonhap) -- The United States must reassess the nuclear and missile cooperation between North Korea and Iran in the wake of the North's recent intercontinental ballistic missile launch, a former American ambassador said Sunday.

John Bolton, who served as the top U.S. envoy to the United Nations from 2005-2006, made the point in an opinion piece contributed to The Hill, saying Pyongyang and Tehran are known to have deep and long-standing ties.

"We must ... urgently reassess the available intelligence on issues like joint Iranian-North Korea nuclear and ballistic-missile programs, free from the Obama administration's political biases," he wrote. "North Korea's July 4 ICBM launch should cause greater interest in the implications for Iran."

The security hawk also called for U.S. withdrawal from a 2015 nuclear deal with Iran, claiming there is "considerable information" Tehran has already violated the agreement.

Under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, Tehran agreed to curb its nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief from Washington and other world powers.

This file photo shows John Bolton (R), former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations. (Yonhap)

"Much of the current JCPOA debate would be strategically irrelevant if, as seems virtually certain, the ayatollahs can send a wire transfer to (North Korean leader) Kim Jong-un to purchase whatever capability North Korea develops," Bolton said, referring to reports that the Donald Trump administration has decided to certify Iran's compliance with the deal.

"This U.S. approach is both dangerous and unnecessary," he continued. "Care to bet how close Tehran -- and North Korea -- now are? Consider the costs of betting wrong."

When Bolton was under secretary of state for arms control and international security affairs from 2001-2005, he made a series of remarks highly critical of the regime in Pyongyang and then-leader Kim Jong-il. He also called for a regime change in Pyongyang.

The North unleashed vituperation in response, describing him as "human scum," "devoid of reason," "an ugly fellow who cannot be regarded as a human being" and a "bloodthirsty fiendish bloodsucker," among other things.

hague@yna.co.kr
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