US anti-proliferation efforts have centered almost entirely on Iran in recent years, despite a glaring lack of evidence that Iran is even interested in nuclear weapons. That focus is so determined, however, that even when North Korea tests a nuclear weapon, the Obama Administration is making it about Iran.
Secretary of State John Kerry made that the focus of his comments on North Korea, saying that the international moves against North Korea are important because they will “send a message” to Iran and prove to them that their own civilian program won’t be tolerated.
President Obama has promised to lead a global crackdown against North Korea, vowing that the world would take “firm action” without any specifics about what that would be. Since the US sanctions on North Korea are already near absolute, the options are likely limited.
Yet if Iran is the issue, all manner of unreasonable hostility is possible, and the administration is trying to draw a clear line with North Korea that it is, for some reason, all about Iran. Moving to stick it to the North Koreans as a way of scaring Iran seems absurd, but once a notion hits the administration they tend to run with it.