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Monday, October 26, 2009     INTELLIGENCE BRIEFING

Report: Iran acquired submarines from N. Korea

WASHINGTON — A U.S. congressional report said Iran has procured submarines from North Korea.   

The report said Teheran has received other equipment, including weapons of mass destruction, from Pyongyang.

Titled "Iran: U.S. Concerns and Policy Responses," the report for the Congressional Research Service, the research arm of Congress, did not provide details on the North Korean deal with Iran, according to Middle East Newsline.

Several North Korean midget submarines were said to have arrived in Iran, according to the report.

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"Iran is said to possess several, possibly purchased assembled or in kit form from North Korea," it continued.

In addition, Teheran was said to have purchased up to $2 billion per year in military equipment from North Korea, the report dated Oct. 5 and authored by analyst Kenneth Katzman said.

"Iran purportedly has acted as an intermediary with North Korea to supply Syria with various forms of WMD and missile technology," the report said.

Iran might have also produced its own small submarine. CRS quoted an Iranian government statement in November 2007 that reported the production of a small submarine with sonar-evading technology.

"Most of Iran's other military-to-military relationships, such as with Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, North Korea, and a few others, generally center on Iranian arms purchases or upgrades," the report said.

The report was released as the State Department cited Iran and North Korea as key challenges to U.S. non-proliferation policy. The administration of President Barack Obama was deemed by CRS as trying to woo Syria to sever its strategic cooperation with Teheran.

"Iran is a major investor in the Syrian economy, which attracts very little Western investment, and some believe the Iran-Syria alliance is not easily severed," the report said.

The report said although Iran lacks the "logistical ability to project power much beyond its borders, Iranian forces could still cause damage to U.S. forces and allies in the Gulf region."

"They are sufficiently effective to deter or fend off conventional threats from Iran's weaker neighbors such as post-war Iraq, Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan, and Afghanistan," the report said.

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