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US official says Iran has restarted missile co-operation with North Korea

North Korea is again assisting Iran’s missile programme, a US official told Reuters on 20 September.

The Khorramshahr was unveiled in September 2017. (STR/AFP/Getty Images)

The Khorramshahr was unveiled in September 2017. (STR/AFP/Getty Images)

“Iran and North Korea have resumed co-operation on a long-range missile project, including the transfer of critical parts,” said the anonymous official, who declined to say when the co-operation ceased and started again.

The official added that the US government assessed that Iran could have sufficient fissile material for a nuclear weapon by the end of this year.

That suggested the United States believes the 2.1 tonnes of low-enriched uranium the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) reported Iran as having on 4 September is sufficient for a nuclear weapon and can be rapidly enriched into fissile material.

Elliott Abrams, the new US envoy for Iran, confirmed the concern about the missile co-operation on the following day, but did not elaborate.

The US Treasury Department announced new sanctions on Iran on 21 September, including the designation of the Shahid Haj Ali Movahed Research Centre, which it said “has played a key role in Iranian-North Korean missile co-operation”.

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