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UN Report: North Korea, Iran Have Teamed Up

Iran denies cooperative missile development
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 9, 2021 11:00 AM CST

(Newser) – North Korea is funneling millions of dollars stolen by hackers into nuclear weapons, according to a new and confidential UN report, which also points the finger at Iran. The document accuses Kim Jong Un's regime of coordinating "operations against financial institutions and virtual currency exchange houses" to pay for new weapons for nuclear and missile programs, and of seeking "material and technology for these programs from overseas"—particularly Iran, per CNN. It was one of several outlets (the AP is another) to receive portions of the report, which comes from the UN Panel of Experts on North Korea and is based on information from member countries, intelligence agencies, defectors, and the media. One unnamed member nation claimed hackers stole $316.4 million worth of virtual assets for the North between 2019 and November 2020.

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Meanwhile, member nations claimed the North was working with Iran on long-range missile development, "said to have included the transfer of critical parts," per Bloomberg. The outlet notes resumed cooperation "would likely represent a shortcoming of the Trump administration's pressure campaign against both countries." Iran has denied the report, however, citing "false information and fabricated data." The report also finds that North Korea's economy is "closer to the brink of collapse than it has been in decades," per CNN, as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, sanctions, and floods. On Monday, Kim called on his ruling Workers' Party to implement measures "to push forward the economic construction and provide the people with more stable and improved living conditions despite the persistent emergency anti-epidemic situation," state news reported, per Reuters. (Read more North Korea stories.)

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