N. Korea highlights Iran nuke deal ahead of summits

KUNA— North Korea on Monday highlighted its 45-year-long ties with Iran and defended Tehran’s stance toward a nuclear deal with major powers that US President Donald Trump has threatened to scrap, the Seoul-based Yonhap News Agency reported.

“Iran is developing its missile programs without giving in to outside pressure as they are not constrained by its nuclear deal,” said the Rodong Sinmun, the newspaper of the North’s ruling Workers’ Party, which was monitored in Seoul.

In July 2015, Iran and the five permanent members of the UN Security Council and Germany concluded a landmark deal to curb Tehran’s nuclear activities, in exchange for easing economic sanctions on the country. “Iran is receiving full support from its people as Tehran is building up its defense capabilities without being disturbed,” the North’s official paper said.
Trump has strongly opposed the Iran nuclear deal, which was clinched under his predecessor Barack Obama. He set a May 12 deadline to decide whether to revoke the accord.

Seoul and Washington previously called on the North to take a lesson from Iran and abandon its nuclear weapons program. However, North Korea rejected such calls, saying that its pursuit of nuclear weapons is deterrence against what it called Washington’s hostile acts.

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un is set to hold a summit with South Korean President Moon Jae-in next Friday. It will be followed by a meeting with Trump in May or June.

Ahead of the summits, Pyongyang reportedly has suggested a need for phased and synchronous measures for denuclearization, but the US is calling for the North to dismantle its nuclear program in a complete, irreversible and verifiable manner. (end) mk.hb