Friday, July 17, 2015

'Mr. Lonely' - Iran nuclear deal leaves Pyongyang out in the cold

'Mr. Lonely' - Iran nuclear deal leaves Pyongyang out in the cold. (AN).

Tuesday’s landmark deal over Iran’s nuclear programme signed in Vienna by Iran and the 5+1 group in has left North Korea as the last odd man out.

In view of this, many analysts believe that after the United States took steps to normalise relations with Iran and Cuba -- two of its three long-time foes, conditions have become more conducive for Washington to pay more attention to North Korea’s nuclear issues.

In “light of this trend, the Iran deal could play a positive role in terms of adding pressure for North Korea’s denuclearization,” said Park Myung-lim, a political scientist at Yonsei University.

What is more, for Park, Kim could use the nuclear card “to address all of its internal and external issues, including domestic instability, isolation, poor economy and the normalization of ties with the U.S. and South Korea, and so forth”.

Other experts believe however, that Iran will monopolise Washington’s attention. For instance, Chang Yong-seok, a senior analyst at Seoul National University’s Institute for Peace and Unification Studies, expressed doubts over the speculation that after the deal with Iran, the United States could pay more attention to Pyongyang.

“I am rather cautious about whether the U.S. would move in the near future to address the North Korean issue, as there would be many follow-up measures to do to implement the Iran deal including its talks with the Congress,” he said. And the US Congress will ultimately have to vote on the deal.

All analysts also agree that Iran and North Korea are very different.

Iran is still a member of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. North Korea, which entered the NPT regime in 1985, broke away from the treaty in 1993, re-joined later and withdrew from it again in 2003.

Tehran has argued that its nuclear programme is for peaceful purposes, including medical use, whilst Pyongyang describes itself as a nuclear-armed state in its constitution and has openly adopted a policy of simultaneously pursuing the development of nuclear arms.

Iran has not conducted any major nuclear tests. By contrast, the North carried out nuclear tests in 2006, 2009 and 2013, arguing that it has already entered the technical phase “to miniaturize and diversify its nuclear bombs.”

Another difference between the two is that economic sanctions for the oil-rich Islamic Republic are critical for its trade, whilst the impact of the sanctions on the North are much weaker, as its economy is largely disconnected from the international system. Hmmmm......I'm sure the Obama 'admin' has already a 'deal' in mind for Mr. lonely.

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