Iran, North Korea sign 'science' deal


Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (L) and North Korea's ceremonial head of state, Kim Yong-Nam, review the honor guard during a welcome ceremony in Tehran on September 1, 2012. The two countries have signed a "science" agreement.



Iranian media reported Saturday that Iran and North Korea had signed a deal to cooperate in science and technology, according to Reuters.

Iran's supreme leader said the two countries shared "common enemies." The agreement means the two countries will cooperate in research, student exchanges and joint laboratories, especially in information technology, engineering, biotechnology, renewable energy and sustainable development of agriculture and food technology, Reuters said.

The agreement was signed by Iran's Minister for Science, Research and Technology Farhad Daneshjoo and North Korean Foreign Minister Pak Ui-chun.

The Associated Press noted that any agreement between Pyongyang and Tehran is likely to trigger suspicion in the West, with the United States having accused North Korea of providing missiles to Iran. Both countries have nuclear programs that the West has been trying to deter with the threat of sanctions and diplomatic isolation.

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Reuters noted that both countries were named as part of an "axis of evil" by former President George W. Bush in 2002.

State media reported that Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said the two countries had "common enemies, because the arrogant powers do not accept independent states," according to The Atlantic.

"In the march towards great goals, one should be serious, and pressures, sanctions and threats should not cause any crack in (our) determination," Khamenei said, according to the AP.

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