As the world turns its attention to reports that North Korea has mastered a key component to making a nuclear missile, experts warn that the White House must also keep its eye on Iran.
The concern, some say, is that Tehran will see that if North Korea can get away with building a nuclear weapon in spite of U.S. protests, then it can, too.
Matt Levitt of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy said North Korean progress may lead Iran to try to become the next nuclear power. "It's a human and emotional response, but also logical," he said of Tehran's possible goals.
Adding to worries Iran will try to take advantage of the U.S. focus on North Korea, a top aide to supreme leader Kim Jong Un is on a 10-day trip to meet with Iranian leaders in Tehran, according to official North Korean news reports. The reports say top officials from North Korea's army, navy and air force are part of the trip.
Alireza Nader, an expert on Iran for the global policy think tank RAND Corp., said the meetings aren't surprising. "Iran and North Korea cooperate on many fronts but mostly on defense," he said.
Nader added that "most of the North Korean relationship with Iran centers on missile systems. North Korea was helping Iran, but now Iran is helping North Korea with technology for inter-continental ballistic missiles."