Iran and North Korea

The Times Online reports: Iranian technical experts were reported to be in North Korea helping the Dear Leader prepare for his missile launch. And doubtless to learn what they can about evading US anti-missile defense methods. Why do you suppose?

Missile experts from Iran are in North Korea to help Pyongyang prepare for its rocket launch, according to reports.

Amid increasing global concern over the rocket launch, believed by the US and its allies to be an illegal missile launch, Japan's Sankei Shimbun newspaper claimed today a 15-strong delegation from Tehran has been in the country advising the North Koreans since the beginning of March.

The Iranian experts include senior officials with Iranian rocket and satellite producer Shahid Hemmat Industrial Group, the daily said.

Meanwhile, the Korea Register reports that the Obama administration signed sanctions carried over from the Bush Administration.

According to the U.S. Federal Register, the Obama administration signed off on the new sanctions, a measure that was largely prepared by the previous George W. Bush administration. Washington says these specific foreign firms have been targeted for allegedly breaching U.S. trade laws against the proliferation of missiles and other armaments.

The North Korean firms targeted by the U.S. sanctions are Mokong Trading Corp., Korea Mining and Development Corp. and Sino-Ki, according to reports. Other foreign entities named in the measure include two Chinese companies, Bellamax and Dalian Sunny Industries, as well as two Iranian firms, Shahid Bakeri Industrial Group and Shahid Hemmat Industrial Group.

The measure would prohibit these companies from conducting business with American agencies and private companies. It is largely seen as a symbolic measure with no practical business consequences, however, as these firms most likely are not doing business with U.S. entities.

These are the first such measures approved under the Obama administration, which may suggest that the new U.S. government will continue to pursue the previous Bush administration's tough approach on weapons proliferation.

The AP believes that North Korea will go through with its test, no matter what. "

"It's unthinkable" for North Korea to cancel its plan now, said Paik Hak-soon, an analyst at the private Sejong Institute think tank outside Seoul. Paik said North Korea would not want to be seen as bowing to international pressure and would not want lose what it views as a good opportunity to bolster its leverage with President Barack Obama's administration as it formulates its policy toward the North.