‘Axis of Evil’ still alive as North Korea, Iran launch missiles, flout sanctions

The two remaining members of the “Axis of Evil” launched rockets on back-to-back days, with Iran and North Korea blatantly flouting international resolve as each took significant steps toward developing their own nuclear-tipped intercontinental ballistic missiles.

North Korea on Friday for the second time this month successfully launched an ICBM into space and had its re-entry vehicle splash down. Friday’s rocket landed in the Sea of Japan, about 600 miles from the launch pad; however, U.S. officials were still assessing the missile’s apex, which more accurately determines how far away the rocket could strike.

On Thursday, Iran launched its own rocket — based off a North Korean design — towards space. The Islamic Republic said the launch was a success, but U.S. assessments pegged the Iranian posture as propaganda. Officials believe the Iranian rocket suffered a “catastrophic failure” and likely blew up.

Neither missile posed an imminent threat to North America, however, the North Korea launch drew a swift response from the Pentagon.

“Our commitment to the defense of our allies, including the Republic of Korea and Japan, in the face of these threats, remains ironclad,” spokesman Capt. Jeff Davis said. “We remain prepared to defend ourselves and our allies from any attack or provocation.”

While North Korea is actively and openly engaged in trying to perfect its ICBM technology so the rocket could one day be topped with a nuke and potentially…

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