North Korea and Iran

Foreign and Commonwealth Office written question – answered on 16th October 2014.

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Photo of Simon Kirby Simon Kirby Conservative, Brighton, Kemptown

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what recent assessment he has made of the nuclear weapons capability of (a) North Korea and (b) Iran.

Photo of Tobias Ellwood Tobias Ellwood The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs

The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) conducted its third nuclear test in February 2013, following earlier tests in 2006 and 2009. We note with concern reports suggesting the Yongbyon nuclear reactor has been restarted, that the nearby uranium enrichment facility has apparently been expanded, as well as DPRK’s statements reiterating its ‘right’ to conduct further nuclear tests. We continue to urge DPRK to comply with its obligations under relevant UN Security Council Resolutions, to refrain from any further provocations to abide by its obligations under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and permit full access by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). In the event of any further test, we have made clear to DPRK that they should expect a robust response.

Iran does not have a nuclear weapons capability, but we are concerned about the goals of Iran’s nuclear programme, the associated proliferation risks and Iran’s history of concealing its nuclear activities. The most concerning elements of Iran’s nuclear programme were frozen or rolled back under the Geneva Joint Plan of Action, which will expire on 24 November. A comprehensive agreement between the E3+3 and Iran is the best way to ensure the exclusively peaceful nature of Iran’s nuclear programme. We urge Iran to cooperate fully with the IAEA to address international concerns about the possible military dimensions to Iran’s nuclear programme.

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