Iran’s President Hassan Rowhani meets with North Korea’s ceremonial head of state, Kim Yong-Nam in 2013 – Atta Kenare | AFP | Getty Images
Iran’s official IRNA news agency reported Kim Yong Nam, chairman of the Supreme Assembly of North Korea, arrived Thursday for the weekend inauguration ceremony for Iranian President Hassan Rouhani.
But given the head of North Korea’s parliament is expected to stay for 10 days in Iran, the trip is being seen as a front for other purposes, including expanding military cooperation. At the same time, Pyongyang is looking for ways to counter sanctions and to boost the hard currency for Kim Jong Un’s regime.
"There could be very problematic cooperation going on because of the past history and because it makes strategic sense, especially for Iran now," said Emily Landau, a senior research fellow at the Israeli-based Institute for National Security Studies and head of the Arms Control and Regional Security Program. INSS is an independent think tank affiliated with Tel Aviv University.