When North Korea attempted to launch its TD-2 ICBM on 5 July (local time), we speculated about the potential presence of foreign scientists or dignitaries. Now, South Korea's semi-official Yonhap news service is reporting that at least 10 Iranian missile engineers attended the failed launch attempt, and may have participated in preparations for the test.
The reported Iranian presence is hardly suprising. North Korea is Tehran's primary source for ballistic missile technology, and Israeli intelligence reported earlier this year that Iran had acquired BM-25 intermediate range missiles from Pyongyang. The BM-25 would allow Tehran to potentially strike targets as far away as southern Europe, and is more adaptable as a nuclear weapons delivery system.
There is also talk that Iran may have developed the third stage for the ICBM version of the TD-2. At a minimum, the presence of Iranians at Tapeodong underscores continued Iranian interest in North Korean missile technology (no matter how unreliable it might be), and a desire to acquire long-range missiles. Couple this report with Tehran's active WMD programs, and you've got compelling reasons to deal with the Iranian problem, sooner rather than later.