Jerusalem, Mar. 26 – The threats from the nuclear programs of Iran and its ally North Korea are among the top issues at the second Nuclear Security Summit as world leaders meet in Seoul, South Korea Monday to determine how to prevent nuclear weapons from falling into the hands of terrorists.
The nuclear ambitions of the two rogue states are expected to dominate discussions. North Korea defied international sanctions and developed its own atomic bombs, and is suspected of illegally exporting nuclear and missile technology to Iran.
The leaders are faced with the daunting security issues of how to take cooperative measures to safeguard nuclear materials and facilities from terrorist groups, protect nuclear materials and facilities, and prevent the illicit trafficking of nuclear materials.
Several western countries including the United States and Japan believe North Korea's announcement on March 16 to launch a satellite into orbit next month is a cover for a long-range ballistic missile test, which would be in direct defiance of U.N. resolutions. Defense experts suspect the North Koreans are actually testing a new Iranian long-range balllistic missile. Iran depends heavily on North Korean missile technology, but may fear that testing the missile in Iran would expose it as a delivery system for nuclear weapons.
Iran and North Korea are not participating in the summit. Both countries are under international sanctions because of their refusal to cooperate with repeated United Nations resolutions to curtail their nuclear development programs. The two countries also refuse to fully open their nuclear facilities to inspection by the International Atomic Energy Agency - the U.N. watchdog charged with monitoring nuclear development in the world.
The IAEA has repeatedly found that despite claims its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes, Iran is carrying out research and development related to the development of nuclear weapons.