Nuclear North Korea vs. Nuclear Iran: Extremely Dangerous Situation

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Difference between Nuclear North Korea and Nuclear Iran

The threat of nuclear war is something that most of the world is concerned about, so when North Korea made known its intentions to enter into the nuclear age you can bet that many governments sat up and took notice. It was also inevitable that comparisons with other relatively new nuclear powers would be made, such as this article in which nuclear North Korea is compared with nuclear Iran.

Nuclear North Korea
Nuclear Iran

The Roots Of The Problem

With the granting of a nuclear power plant to North Korea by the USSR, a number of conditions were imposed under the mandate of the NPT or Nuclear Proliferation Treaties. Among them was the acquiescence with the NPT’s Safeguards Agreement, a process that the North Korea government supposedly "delayed". During this time, the government began to utilize a uranium-powered nuclear reactor, which it claims was an "Experimental Power Reactor". While the design of the reactor conformed to standards for a nuclear reactor suitable for energy production, it also seemed capable of being used for plutonium production. Plutonium is of course one of the key ingredients of nuclear weapons manufacture.

As for Iran, the country had supposedly been in compliance with the same safeguard requirements set for North Korea, although breaches of obligation were reported by the International Atomic Energy Agency or IAEA as early as 2003. In the wake of the sanctions against Iran mandated by the United Nations, the Iranian representative stated that these sanctions only served to discourage the country from conforming to the requirements set by the NPT.

Resistance To Nuclear Safeguards

Both countries have in their own displayed resistance to the NPT guidelines. North Korea for instance hasn't allowed the IAEA to implement any safeguards on its nuclear reactors since 2002. The IAEA has therefore been unable to draw any solid conclusions with regard to nuclear safety for North Korea. The county’s government has also refused to cooperate with other IAEA actions since April 2009.

Iran for its part has done nothing to comply with arrangements to have its uranium enriched in another country, although Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has claimed his acceptance of the terms of the agreement. As of the time of this writing, the IAEA has yet to see any clear indication of Iran’s compliance.

The Implications

North Korea has already gone on record as stating that it has nuclear weapons in its possession, a claim that United States leaders are inclined to believe. While the U.S. is as yet uncertain about the extent of North Korea’s nuclear weapons capability, it is also suspected that the country not only plans to build nuclear weapons for its own defense, but to sell to other countries as well.

Iran poses an even bigger threat, since its nuclear arms stockpile is thought to be the largest in the Middle East, with longer-range missiles currently in the planning stages.


Nuclear North Korea

  • Delayed action on the NPT’s Safeguards Agreement
  • Has designed a reactor that is capable of being used for plutonium production

Nuclear Iran

  • Has breached obligations to the International Atomic Energy Agency or IAEA
  • Has done nothing to comply with arrangements to have its uranium enriched in another country
Which nuclear power is more dangerous?
  • Nuclear North Korea
  • Nuclear Iran

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