A U.S. investigation has disclosed that Iraq concluded an
intermediate-range missile deal with North Korea in 2001.
David Kay, who headed a Bush administration team in the search for Iraqi
weapons of mass destruction, disclosed the agreement last week. Kay said the
report of an Iraqi-North Korean deal emerged in Iraqi government documents
as in interviews with captured Iraqi officials.
Iraq signed a $10 million contract to buy technology and equipment from North Korea for the production of
ballistic missiles based on the No-Dong intermediate-range missile.U.S. officials said the deal was completed in June 2001.
The No-Dong has a range of more than 1,000 kilometers and served as the
basis for Iran's Shihab-3, with a range of more than 1,300 kilometers, Middle East Newsline reported.
"The Iraqis were engaged in a very full-scale program that would have
extended their delivery systems out beyond 1,000 kilometers." Kay said.
But officials said North Korea failed to deliver the ordered equipment
to Baghdad because of intense U.S. monitoring on Pyongyang. In the end, they
said, Pyongyang did not return the $10 million to Iraq.
"It's a lesson in negotiating with the North Koreans that the Iraqis
found out the hard way," Kay said.
Officials said the North Korean project was meant to upgrade Iraqi
Scud-based ballistic missiles to that of the No-Dong, a violation of a
United Nations Security Council resolution that limited Iraqi missiles to a
range of 150 kilometers.
Kay said his team found plans for the extension of several Iraqi
missiles. He said one program called for the extension of the range of the
SAM-2 anti-aircraft missile and the conversion of the Silkworm anti-ship
cruise missile into a land-attack missile.