Iran seeks closer ties with North Korea after missile test

Iran is looking to bolster its ties with North Korea – on the same day Pyongyang claimed it successfully tested a ballistic missile capable of reaching US mainland.

Iran is seeking to expand relations with North Korea – on the same day Pyongyang claimed it successfully tested its first intercontinental ballistic missile.

Tehran said on Tuesday it sought to “upgrade” its relations with North Korea following a meeting between Iran’s Head of National Security and Foreign Policy Commission Ala’eddin Boroujerdi and North Korea’s ambassador to Tehran, Kang Sam-hyon.

“The parliamentary friendship group of Iran and North Korea is ready to facilitate and expedite cooperation between the two countries in various domains,” Boroujerdi said in a statement published on the website of the state-run Islamic Republic News Agency.

“We hope to upgrade cooperation through exchange of delegations and friendship groups, upgrading and expanding ties,” he added.

Although the statement did not mention North Korea’s missile programme, it comes on the day Pyongyang said it had successfully tested its first intercontinental ballistic missile, boasting it was capable of reaching the US.

It said the projectile had reached an altitude of 2,802km (1,731 miles) and flew 933km for 39 minutes before hitting a target in the sea.

North Korea, it said, was now “a full-fledged nuclear power that has been possessed of the most powerful inter-continental ballistic rocket capable of hitting any part of the world”.

The launch, the latest in a series of tests this year, was in defiance of a ban by the UN Security Council.

Meanwhile the US is looking to increase sanctions pressure on Iran after it unveiled the construction of an underground ballistic missile facility in May.

Iran denies ever seeking nuclear weapons and says its missile programme is part of its “absolute and legal right to build up the country’s defensive capabilities”.