The longstanding connection between the Iranian and North Korean missile programs has the Israeli security establishment cautiously watching the developments in the communist nation. This weekend’s test has Israeli analysts examining the launch for insight into Iran’s capabilities and looking for a response.

“Concern is increasing, seeing how everyone knows that North Korea is the main provider of missiles to Syria and Iran. This means that every technological advance could be disseminated elsewhere,” said Tal Inbar, deputy director of the Fisher Brothers Institute for Air and Space Studies. “Of course, this is disturbing, because a missile of this kind has a range of thousands of [miles], and this is an irresponsible regime with nuclear capabilities and an irrational leadership.”

Intelligence reports suggest Iran’s missiles are more or less copies of those used by North Korea. Iran’s long-range Shahab-5 and Shahab-6 missiles are reportedly based on the Taepodong-2 missile, the type of missile North Korea tested over the weekend.

Analysts also see strong similarities between the first stage of the North Korean missile and Iran’s Safir-2 missile.

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Experts, however, say Iran has moved beyond the North Korean-developed technology and has achieved technological independence in the area of missile development.

Mr. Inbar said he believed North Korea’s claim it had attempted to launch a satellite into orbit, rather than test a ballistic missile. However, he said the technology needed to launch a satellite was identical to that used in an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM).

The fact North Korea has not released any pictures or video of the launch could be cause for suspicion.

Reports suggest the North Korean missile failed during launch, which, coupled with prior North Korean failures, has led many analysts around the globe to question the communist nation’s capabilities.

Western anger, particularly that of Japan, South Korea and the United States, primarily stems from a 2006 U.N. Security Council resolution banning such launches.

Despite the angst over the launch, Israel remains confident it has the ability to protect itself from the Iranian variants of the North Korean missiles.

“This is exactly what the Arrow missile system is designed for,” said a senior security source, and stressed that the Arrow anti-missile system can destroy a missile that comes apart in three stages and is geared to evading aerial defense systems.

David Bedein can be reached at


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David Bedein
David Bedein is an MSW community organizer and an investigative journalist.   In 1987, Bedein established the Israel Resource News Agency at Beit Agron to accompany foreign journalists in their coverage of Israel, to balance the media lobbies established by the PLO and their allies.   Mr. Bedein has reported for news outlets such as CNN Radio, Makor Rishon, Philadelphia Inquirer, Los Angeles Times, BBC and The Jerusalem Post, For four years, Mr. Bedein acted as the Middle East correspondent for The Philadelphia Bulletin, writing 1,062 articles until the newspaper ceased operation in 2010. Bedein has covered breaking Middle East negotiations in Oslo, Ottawa, Shepherdstown, The Wye Plantation, Annapolis, Geneva, Nicosia, Washington, D.C., London, Bonn, and Vienna. Bedein has overseen investigative studies of the Palestinian Authority, the Expulsion Process from Gush Katif and Samaria, The Peres Center for Peace, Peace Now, The International Center for Economic Cooperation of Yossi Beilin, the ISM, Adalah, and the New Israel Fund.   Since 2005, Bedein has also served as Director of the Center for Near East Policy Research.   A focus of the center's investigations is The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA). In that context, Bedein authored Roadblock to Peace: How the UN Perpetuates the Arab-Israeli Conflict - UNRWA Policies Reconsidered, which caps Bedein's 28 years of investigations of UNRWA. The Center for Near East Policy Research has been instrumental in reaching elected officials, decision makers and journalists, commissioning studies, reports, news stories and films. In 2009, the center began decided to produce short movies, in addition to monographs, to film every aspect of UNRWA education in a clear and cogent fashion.   The center has so far produced seven short documentary pieces n UNRWA which have received international acclaim and recognition, showing how which UNRWA promotes anti-Semitism and incitement to violence in their education'   In sum, Bedein has pioneered The UNRWA Reform Initiative, a strategy which calls for donor nations to insist on reasonable reforms of UNRWA. Bedein and his team of experts provide timely briefings to members to legislative bodies world wide, bringing the results of his investigations to donor nations, while demanding reforms based on transparency, refugee resettlement and the demand that terrorists be removed from the UNRWA schools and UNRWA payroll.   Bedein's work can be found at: and A new site,, will be launched very soon.