Iran, North Korea agree to cooperate in science, technology

DUBAI Sat Sep 1, 2012 11:31am EDT

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DUBAI (Reuters) - Iran and North Korea have signed an agreement to cooperate in science and technology, Iranian media reported on Saturday, and Iran's supreme leader declared that the two countries had "common enemies."

The two countries will cooperate in research, student exchanges and joint laboratories, and in the fields of information technology, engineering, biotechnology, renewable energy, the environment, sustainable development of agriculture and food technology, the Iranian Labour News Agency (ILNA) reported.

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

North Korea has had close ties with Iran. Leaked U.S. diplomatic cables from 2010 showed that U.S. officials believe Iran has acquired ballistic missile parts from North Korea.

Pyongyang's Communist government and Iran's Islamic republic share little in the way of ideology, but both were named as part of an "axis of evil" by former U.S. President George W. Bush in his 2002 State of the Union speech.

Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei also met with North Korea's Kim Yong-nam, seen as a figurehead head of state, who was in Tehran for the Non-Aligned Movement summit held this week.

"The Islamic Republic of Iran and North Korea have common enemies, because the arrogant powers do not accept independent states," Khamenei was quoted as saying by ILNA on Saturday.

There had been rumors that North Korean supreme leader Kim Jong-un would attend the summit of developing countries. The Non-Aligned Movement is one of the few multilateral forums in which the North takes part.

Iran's first vice-president, Mohammad Reza Rahimi, also called on Saturday for greater economic ties between his country and North Korea, Iranian state television reported.

(Reporting By Yeganeh Torbati; Editing by Roger Atwood)

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