North Korea Not Interested in Iran-Style Nuclear Deal

by REERA YOO | @reeraboo

North Korea on Tuesday said it is not interested in making a denuclearization deal like the one Iran forged with the United States and five other world powers last week, claiming that its situation is “quite different” from that of Iran.

According to the Wall Street Journal, a spokesman for North Korea’s foreign ministry said that the isolated country has no interest in freezing or dismantling its nuclear program unilaterally. He added that Pyongyang will continue to develop nuclear weapons as long as “the U.S. continues pursuing its hostile policy” towards the country. 

Diplomats from the U.S. and South Korea have previously tried to persuade North Korea to abandon its nuclear weapons program, but disarmament talks have stalled since late 2008. In May, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry claimed that North Korea was “not even close” to taking the steps needed to restart negotiations on reducing its nuclear capabilities.

North Korea and Iran have been allies since the establishment of the Islamic Republic following the 1979 revolution, according to the WSJ. Both countries have faced international sanctions that have crippled their economies. With the newly-minted Iran deal, economic sanctions on Iran are lifted as long as the country agrees to long-term limits on its nuclear program, such as significantly reducing its supplies of low-enriched uranium.

Since the Iran deal, some policymakers have wondered if Washington could make a similar pact with Pyongyang.

U.S. Under Secretary of Political Affairs Wendy Sherman said at a press conference last week that the Iran deal “might give North Korea second thoughts about the very dangerous path that it is currently pursuing.” China’s Foreign Minister also expressed the same hope, claiming that the deal could serve as a “positive reference” for restarting denuclearization talks with Pyongyang.

However, all hope for renewed negotiations was quashed with North Korea’s statement on Tuesday.

“We are clearly a nuclear power and nuclear powers have their own interests,” the statement said, according to Reuters.

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Featured image captured via NBC News (screenshot)

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