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Iran sends humanitarian aid to N. Korea
Red Crescent Society says aid to impoverished country includes 85 tons of flour, powdered milk and rice

Iranian Red Crescent Society officials announced that Islamic Republic has sent 85 tons worth of humanitarian aid to North Korea, the Fars News Agency reported Sunday.

 

"The IRCS's humanitarian aid cargo included 85 tons of flour, powdered milk and rice which were delivered to North Korea's Red Cross," said the organization's head of PR, Pouya Hajian.

 

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The international community has imposed harsh sanctions on North Korea over its nuclear program, and the US recently called off plans to send food aid after the impoverished state’s defiant rocket launch. The Iranian shipment is regarded as an attempt to bypass these sanctions.

 

The US had already suspended the plan to deliver 240,000 metric tons of assistance aimed at children and pregnant women as North Korea prepared what the regime called an unsuccessful bid to put a satellite in orbit.

 

President Barack Obama’s administration, which had fine-tuned the aid package for months before announcing it February 29, said it was “impossible” to move forward after what US officials considered a flopped missile test.

 

Hundreds of thousands of North Koreans are believed to have died in a famine in the 1990s. UN agencies estimated in November after a visit to the North that three million people would need food aid in 2012.

 

Mercy Corps, one of five US non-governmental groups that would have delivered the aid, said the assistance would have reached more than two million North Korean children and tens of thousands of pregnant women.

 

Last week South Korea's official news agency reported that 12 Iranians who are involved in Tehran's ballistic missile program were present in North Korea during the failed missile test.

 

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.

 

In the past it was reported that Iran and North Korea had shared information on missile production, and North Korea was also accused of helping Syria build a nuclear reactor, which according to foreign reports was destroyed by Israel.

 

The Red Crescent Society in Iran had previously sent 50 tons of "humanitarian aid" to the residents of Gaza. According to WikiLeaks, the organization is sometimes used as a cover to smuggle Iranian agents into other countries.

 

AFP, Reuters contributed to the report

 

 


First published: 04.22.12, 23:59
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