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N.K. highlights Iran nuke deal ahead of summits with S. Korea, U.S.

All Headlines 17:24 April 16, 2018

SEOUL, April 16 (Yonhap) -- North Korea on Monday highlighted its 45-year-long ties with Iran and defended Tehran's stance toward a nuclear deal with major powers that U.S. President Donald Trump has threatened to scrap.

The move is seen as an attempt to bolster its bargaining position ahead of summits with South Korea and the United States, as Pyongyang's denuclearization will likely top the agenda at the meetings.

North Korea's official newspaper, Rodong Sinmun, said that Iran is developing its missile programs without giving in to outside pressure as they are not constrained by its nuclear deal.

In July 2015, Iran and the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council and Germany concluded a landmark deal to curb Tehran's nuclear activities, in exchange for easing economic sanctions on the country.

"Iran is receiving full support from its people as Tehran is building up its defense capabilities without being disturbed," the North's paper said.

Trump has strongly opposed the Iran nuclear deal, which was clinched under his predecessor Barack Obama. He set a May 12 deadline to decide whether to revoke the accord.

Seoul and Washington previously called on the North to take a lesson from Iran and abandon its nuclear weapons program. But North Korea rejected such calls, saying that its pursuit of nuclear weapons is deterrence against what it called Washington's hostile acts.

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un is set to hold a summit with President Moon Jae-in next Friday. It will be followed by a meeting with Trump in May or June.

Ahead of the summits, Pyongyang reportedly has suggested a need for phased and synchronous measures for denuclearization, but the U.S. is calling for the North to dismantle its nuclear program in a complete, irreversible and verifiable manner.

sooyeon@yna.co.kr
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