Iran lawmaker postpones N. Korea, China visit

AP News
Posted: Sep 04, 2011 12:19 PM
Iran lawmaker postpones N. Korea, China visit

Iran's parliament speaker has postponed a visit to North Korea and China because of an unspecified illness, state media reported Sunday.

The U.S. has accused North Korea of providing Iran with advanced missiles capable of targeting European capitals.

The report by Jam-e Jam daily quoted Hossein Sobhaninia, a member of parliament, as saying a visit by Ali Larijani to Pyongyang and Beijing has been postponed. He did not elaborate.

State TV later on Sunday quoted parliament's public relations department as saying "illness" kept Larijani from making the trip. It did elaborate.

But another member of parliament told The Associated Press that Larijani was postponing the trip because he was not scheduled to meet with sufficiently high-ranking North Koreans. The lawmaker spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss the trip.

Last week the Iranian parliament's website had said Larijani would be in Pyongyang for a three-day visit beginning Sunday. He was to visit Beijing afterward.

The visit to North Korea would have been the first visit by an Iranian parliament speaker since the 1980s, when Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani visited Pyongyang.

Iranian and North Korean officials have said in the past that the two countries are in "one trench" in the fight against the U.S. and the West.

Both Iran and North Korea are under U.N. Security Council sanctions _ the North for its nuclear and missile tests, and Iran primarily for refusing to stop a nuclear enrichment program the West suspects could lead to nuclear weapons.

Tehran says its nuclear program aimed at peaceful purposes like power generation.

A report from the U.N. nuclear agency on Friday strengthened suspicions that North Korea _ like Iran _ had turned to black market suppliers to set up a uranium-enrichment plant.