A GROUP of Iranian missile experts is in North Korea to help Pyongyang prepare for a rocket launch, Japan’s Sankei Shimbun newspaper reported on Sunday.
The news comes as spy satellites have photographed the nose cone of a long-range North Korean rocket on its launch pad, but its remains unclear whether it is carrying a satellite or a warhead.
North Korea has said it will launch a communications satellite over northern Japan between April 4 and 8, and the report said the 15-strong Iranian delegation had been in the country since the beginning of this month.
It includes senior officials with Iranian rocket and satellite producer Shahid Hemmat Industrial Group, the daily said, quoting unnamed sources.
The Iranians brought a letter from their President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il stressing the importance of cooperating on space technology, it added.
“Space technology.” Wink-wink.
The United States and its Asian allies suspect North Korea is using the launch as a cover for a long-range missile test.
North Korea and Iran have both come under international pressure over their nuclear activities and are reported to maintain close ties on missile technology.