North Korea may be sharing nuclear weapon test data with Iran

The former chief of a U.S. atomic bomb laboratory said on Wednesday that North Korea may be sharing nuclear weapon test data with Iran.

Siegfried Hecker, the director emeritus at the Los Alamos, New Mexico, nuclear weapons lab, made the remarks on Wednesday during a meeting of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test Ban Treaty Organization. In 2010, Hecker toured North Korean nuclear facilities and was the first to report on the country's uranium enrichment program, Bloomberg reports.

"Sharing test information is a very dangerous thing to do," Hecker said, according to Bloomberg. "(The potential sharing is) very troublesome."

According to U.S. intelligence reports, Iran maintains strong weapons ties with North Korea. Following Heckler's remarks, Iran's CTBTO representative denied Iran's nuclear weapon ambitions.

"Iran doesn't need a nuclear weapon and has never claimed it would need to test in the future," Seyed Hosseini, Iran's deputy envoy to the CTBTO, said, according to Bloomberg. "There is no diversion for military purposes."

Recognized nuclear weapons states like the U.S. and Russia detonated thousands of atomic bombs to increase the yield and reliability of their devices. Data on the effectiveness of nuclear weapons are very secretive. The nuclear test ban treaty seeks to restrict proliferation by eliminating countries' ability to experiment with new designs for bombs.

Hecker said Iran would require data from other nuclear weapons countries to keep a nuclear option without conducting a nuclear test.

"Iran has put all the things in place to build a bomb without taking a decision to do so," Hecker said, according to Bloomberg. "They want the nuclear option."

Hecker said North Korea still needs to conduct more nuclear tests to build a miniaturized nuclear device that could fit on a missile, Bloomberg reports.