South Korea's official news agency reported Monday that 12 Iranians who are involved in Tehran's ballistic missile program were present in North Korea last week during the failed launching of
a missile that was meant to deliver a satellite into space.
According to the report, which was also mentioned by the British Daily Telegraph newspaper, the guests were from the Shahid Hemmat Industrial Group, which is subject to international sanctions.
A diplomatic source quoted by the news agency said that "the Iranians undoubtedly were there to observe the missile launch and receive test data from North Korea."
|News anchor announcing failed missile launch|
Military ties between Tehran and Pyongyang are a well known secret. In the past, it was reported that the two countries shared intelligence on missile production, and North Korea was also tied to the construction of a nuclear reactor in Syria,
which was allegedly destroyed by Israel.
The missile that was launched last week is an intercontinental ballistic missile with a range of 6,000-9,000 kilometers. It was supposed to deliver into space a weather-monitoring satellite, but dismantled into four parts minutes after take off.
The West is worried that North Korea's missile program could be used for intelligence gathering or military purposes.
The launch met fierce opposition around the world, the United States and European Union calling it a clear violation of international law and Security Council resolutions.