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North Korea releases video of “new” submarine-launched missile test

Gorkha Post



SEOUL — North Korea has released video footage of a purportedly new submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM) test, three days after it claimed it had successfully tested its first hydrogen bomb.

South Korean media, however, suggested the footage broadcast by state Korean Central TV was an edited compilation of the North’s third SLBM test, conducted last month in the Sea of Japan, and a different ballistic missile test from 2014.

The undated footage shows leader Kim Jong-un, on board a military vessel in a winter coat and a fedora hat, looking on as a missile is launched vertically from underwater and ignites in mid-air.

The video then cuts to a rocket flying through the clouds, suggesting the missile was able to reach such altitudes.

However, South Korean media said the images of a rocket rising through the clouds was in fact taken from footage of a SCUD missile test broadcast in 2014.

North Korea first announced in May that it had conducted a successful SLBM test, a claim accompanied by pictures of Mr Kim pointing at the missile as it blasted out of the water at a 45-degree angle.

A second SLBM test was carried out off the south-eastern port of Wonsan in November but this was apparently a failure as only debris from its casing was seen in the sea and no traces of the flight were detected.

South Korean military officials say the North is continuing to actively pursue the development of SLBMs, which would take its nuclear threat to a new level.



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Britain, France and Germany propose new sanctions on Iran

Gorkha Post



BRUSSELS — Britain, France and Germany have proposed fresh EU sanctions on Iran over its ballistic missiles and its role in Syria’s war, according to a confidential document, in a bid to persuade Washington to preserve the 2015 nuclear deal with Tehran,according to a document seen by the Reuters news agency.

On March 16, Reuters reported the move would be aimed at satisfying demands made by US President Donald Trump and keeping him ‘committed’ to the 2015 nuclear pact that Tehran signed with world powers and from which Trump has threatened to withdraw.

All 28 members must agree to any such sanctions,according to EU rules.

The document, citing specifically Iran’s ballistic-missile tests and its role in supporting Syria’s government in the seven-year-old civil war against Western-backed rebels, said, “We will…be circulating in the coming days a list of persons and entities that we believe should be targeted in view of their publicly demonstrated roles”.

The proposal is part of an EU strategy to save the accord signed by world powers that curbs Tehran’s ability to develop nuclear weapons, namely by showing US.President Donald Trump that there are other ways to counter Iranian power abroad.

Trump delivered an ultimatum to the European signatories on Jan. 12. It said they must agree to ‘fix the terrible flaws of the Iran nuclear deal’ which was sealed under his predecessor Barack Obama or he would refuse to extend U.S. sanctions relief on Iran. US sanctions will resume unless Trump issues fresh ‘waivers’ to suspend them on May 12.

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The steps would go beyond what a U.S. State Department cable seen by Reuters last month outlined as a path to satisfy Trump: simply committing to improving the nuclear deal.

European Union foreign ministers will discuss the proposal at a closed-door meeting on Monday in Brussels, diplomats said.

Analysts say the nuclear agreement, touted at the time as a breakthrough reducing the risk of a devastating wider war in the Middle East, could collapse if Washington pulls out.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif struck a defiant note towards Washington on Friday.

“If the United States makes the mistake of pulling out of the JCPOA, it will definitely be a painful mistake for the Americans,” Iranian state television quoted Zarif as saying. The JCPOA is the formal name of the nuclear deal.

Zarif did not refer to the possibility of new EU sanctions.

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