Tehran’s intercession in the Korean crisis on the side of its ally in Pyongyang was predictable, even though the US preferrs to ignore the close interrelations between the two allies.
On Friday, April 5, Deputy Chief of Staff of Iran’s Armed Forces Brig. Gen. Masoud Jazayeri stepped forward to point the finger at Washington:
[“The presence of the Americans in [South] Korea has been the root cause of tensions in this sensitive region in the past and present. The US and its allies will suffer great losses if a war breaks out in this region,” he said, adding for good measure: “Independent countries will not submit to the US mischief. The time for Washington’s bullying and extortion is long past.”
DEBKAfile’s Iranian sources: The second part of the statement was a perfect fit for Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s flat refusal to accept US demands on Iran’s nuclear program. The Korean crisis gave the Iranians the opportunity to kill two birds with one stone.
As Kim Jong-Un moved two intermediate missiles to the east coast of North Korea, Gen. Jazayeri’s rhetoric landed on the latest round of talks the six powers were holding with Iran in Amaty, Kazhakstan for a diplomatic resolution of Iran’s nuclear challenge.
Washington hoped to spread some cheer over a diplomatic process that had long past proven futile by planting advance reports that Khamenei had ordered a slowdown of Iran’s nuclear program up to the June presidential election to avoid crossing a red line that would trigger a military response.
But when the parties came to the table, Iran’s senior negotiator Saeed Jalili refused outright to respond to the proposals put before Tehran in the previous session.
He seemed to have taken his cue from Kim Jong-Un, who too has stuck to his father’s rejectionism in the face of every American proposal for dismantling North Korea’s nuclear program.
DEBKAfile: The inevitable convergence of the Korean and Iranian crises confronts America’s three top officials, President Barack Obama, Secretary of State John Kerry and Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, with their most challenging international test.
Kerry would be well advised to take a break from his Sisyphean efforts to crack the latest of umpteen Israel-Palestinian disputes, call off his weekend appointments with Israeli and Palestinians leaders and instead fly to Moscow and Beijing.
There, he could start bargaining with Russian and Chinese rulers for preliminary understandings with Washington on Iran and Syria that would make it worth their while to use their leverage for bringing the out-of-control North Korean firebrand to heel.
So long as the Obama administration sticks to its current separate policies on Syria and Iran, Iran and Korea, Moscow and Beijing won’t lift a finger to apply the brakes to Kim Jong-Un before he drives the world to catastrophe.
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