Israel worried about possible N Korea-Iran nuclear cooperation
(AFP) - A top Israeli official said that the Jewish state was worried about possible nuclear cooperation between arch-enemy Iran and North Korea following Pyongyang's announcement that it had conducted an underground nuclear test, reports Trend.
"Now that North Korea has proven its nuclear capabilities, it risks collaborating with Iran and accelerating its nuclear program," Danny Ayalon, Israel's ambassador to the United States, said in an interview with the Haaretz daily.
"In this context, sanctions (on Iran) become more and more critical," Ayalon said in a separate interview with army radio.
Israeli Deputy Prime Minister Shimon Peres urged the international community to impose economic sanctions on Iran over its atomic program.
"You have to hit economically. It's the hesitation to inflict economic sanctions that opens the way for military actions," Peres told army radio, adding that Iran's nuclear program was a concern for the entire international community.
Iran has been at loggerheads with the international community for months over its own nuclear program, which it insists is for peaceful energy needs and the West fears could be a cover for developing atomic weapons.
The five UN Security Council permanent members, Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States, plus Germany, are expected to begin discussing this week a resolution imposing sanctions on Tehran if it does not halt its atomic program.
Israel views the Islamic republic as its chief enemy, alarmed by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's call for the Jewish state to be wiped off the map and his dismissal of the Nazi Holocaust as a myth.
Israel is widely believed to be the only country in the Middle East to have a nuclear arsenal, estimated at 200 warheads, although it has never formally confirmed or denied it holds such weapons.
Israel slammed North Korea's announcement on Monday that it had conducted its first ever nuclear test as "provocative" and warned it sounded an "alarm bell" for the world.
Seismologists recorded a big blast from a remote northeastern area of the isolated communist country and US and South Korean authorities have since been trying to verify whether it was a nuclear test and, if so, whether or not it was a success.