A Republican senator wants to compel the Obama administration to tell Congress what it knows about ties between North Korea and Iran.
"It’s undeniable that Iran and North Korea have been cooperating on nuclear weapon and ballistic missile development for years now. Iranians have reportedly been present for at least three of North Korea's nuclear tests," Sen. David Perdue said in a statement provided to Roll Call.
The Georgia Republican has drafted an amendment to a North Korean sanctions bill that's due on the Senate floor on Wednesday that would require semiannual reports to Congress on what's known about cooperation on ballistic missiles and nuclear weapons between the country and Iran. In addition, the amendment's language calls for disclosure of individuals involved in or connected to transferring information between the two countries.
"This amendment forces the Obama administration to disclose to Congress what it knows about this cooperation between rogue nations, instead of denying the linkages," said Perdue. "The sooner we acknowledge this illicit cooperation, the sooner we can work to put it to a halt."
A House version of the North Korea sanctions measure included reporting requirements on interaction with Iran on nuclear weapons, but there's no similar language currently in the Senate bill.
The underlying effort to make new, more biting sanctions available to penalize North Korea and entities that have continued to do business with the rogue state for its nuclear development is led by Sen. Cory Gardner, R-Colo., like Perdue a freshman member of the Foreign Relations Committee. Gardner is chairman of the subcommittee on East Asia, the Pacific, and International Cybersecurity Policy.
Reports of a missile test by North Korea over the weekend have only increased the likelihood of swift action by the Senate, where members and aides were optimistic that the foreign policy interest in moving quickly would outweigh any desires for a potentially protracted amendment process.
"North Korea's latest act of belligerence is further evidence that we must act to counter the forgotten maniac," Gardner said in a statement responding to the missile launch reports. "We must act swiftly to reverse the president’s policy of 'strategic patience,' and pursue mandatory sanctions aimed at changing North Korea’s pattern of illicit behavior and peacefully disarming the regime."
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