Iran rejects aiding N. Korean rocket launch
Sun, 29 Mar 2009 18:19:46 GMT
Iran has rejected a report alleging that Iranian missile experts are assisting the North Koreans in launching their long-range rocket.
After Japanese daily Sankei Shimbun quoted unnamed sources as saying that a 15-member Iranian delegation had gone to North Korea in early March to advise Pyongyang, Iran's Embassy in Tokyo issued a statement rejecting the claim.
The statement describes the Japanese report as “politically-motivated" and rejects any missile or military cooperation between Iran and the North.
Pyongyang announced last month that it would launch satellite Kwangmyongsong-2 into orbit as part of its space program sometime between April 4 and April 8.
However, the US, South Korea, and Japan maintain that North Korea has plans to test a long-range missile –– the Taepodong-2 which is allegedly capable of reaching Alaska.
Japan has given its military the green light to shoot down any incoming North Korean rocket. The USS McCain and the USS Chafee warships joined Japanese and South Korean warships in the Sea of Japan on Thursday.
Pyongyang has warned that any attempt to shoot down its satellite would be regarded as an act of war.
"Shooting our satellite for peaceful purposes will precisely mean a war," the North Korea's military said in early March.