Iran has reportedly helped broker Syrian purchases of missile and WMD technology from North Korea, the U.S. Congressional Research Service said in a report published this month (see GSN, Oct. 30, 2008).
"Iran purportedly has acted as an intermediary with North Korea to supply Syria with various forms of WMD and missile technology," states the report, Iran: U.S. Concerns and Policy Responses.
U.S. President Barack Obama has pursued diplomacy with Damascus in an effort "to wean Syria away from its alliance with Iran," the report states, according to the Yonhap News Agency. That would be an exceedingly difficult task, as "Iran is a major investor in the Syrian economy, which attracts very little Western investment, and some believe the Iranian-Syrian alliance is not easily severed," the document adds.
Iran is estimated to purchase roughly $2 billion in armaments from North Korea each year, making Tehran one of Pyongyang's top weapons customers.
Iranian officials reportedly visited North Korea to observe a rocket test and subsequent nuclear test last spring, according to the report (Hwang Doo-hyong, Yonhap News Agency, Oct. 22).