WHEN IT'S BETTER NOT TO SAY ANYTHING.
Japanese Foreign Minister Yohei Kono expressed concern
about the similarity between Iran's ballistic missiles and
North Korea's Scud-C and Nodong-1 missiles in a meeting
with his Iranian counterpart, Kamal Kharrazi. According to
the Japanese Foreign Ministry, Kharrazi replied that Iran
is developing its own missiles and it does not need any
help from North Korea. "It has been developed independently
and had nothing to do with other countries at all,"
Kharrazi said about the Shihab-3 missile.
President Mohammad Khatami also denied allegations
that Iran has received missile technology from North Korea.
He claimed that Iran has developed its missiles
independently, "Yomiuri Shimbun" reported on 1 November.
Khatami and Kharrazi's statements about self-
sufficiency in weapons development are false. Given recent
reports about the Shihab-3's failures, it would be even
more embarrassing if they were true. The 21 September
flight test of the Shihab-3 near Semnan was a flop, either
because of propulsion pitfalls or directional difficulties,
"Jane's Intelligence Review" reported on 1 November. There
has been only one successful test of the Shiahb-3, and it
only flew about 800-900 kilometers, rather than the 1,300
kilometers Tehran claimed. In addition to North Korean
involvement in developing missiles, Russia leads in
providing technical and material assistance at the Shahid
Hemat Industrial Group and the Shahid Bagheri Industrial
Group, where most of the missile development activity takes
place. (Bill Samii)
Copyright (c) 2000. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free
Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036.