Tehran denied a South Korean report claiming that Iranian missile experts were in North Korea to offer technical assistance for Pyongyang’s rocket launch.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast said the report by South Korean newspaper Chosun Ilbo was “utterly not true”.

“The claim made regarding the missile and nuclear cooperation is baseless propaganda and they are trying to create fear so they can undermine our relations with others,” he told AFP.

On Monday, Chosun Ilbo said a group of Iranian missile experts were invited to North Korea after the failed launch in April and had offered assistance on the second rocket launch this year which Pyongyang claims is a “peaceful” mission to put a satellite into orbit.

Both countries are subject to international sanctions over their nuclear activities and suspected nuclear cooperation.

North Korea fired a long-range rocket this morning in a surprise launch that rattled its neighbors. Japan’s chief government spokesman Osamu Fujimura described the launch as “extremely regrettable” and said Tokyo would not tolerate Pyongyang’s action.

Korean Central News Agency reports North Korea had successfully put the satellite into orbit amid international condemnation that it is a guise for banned missile tests.