Iran and North Korea have established a strategic alliance
that focuses on missile and nuclear development, according to a new report.
The report said that Beijing, Pyongyang and Teheran were
helping each other in missile and nuclear programs. The report, titled "China,
Iran and North Korea: A Triangular Strategic Alliance," by Israel's GLORIA
Center said China and North Korea were the key suppliers of Scud-based ballistic
missiles to Iran's military, the target of Western sanctions.
"This flurry of activities underscored the growing
proliferation threats posed by DPRK [North Korea] assistance to Iran's missile
capabilities, which has also led to collaboration in the nuclear realm," the
report, published in the Middle East Review of International Affairs, said.
The report said North Korea helped develop Iran's Shihab
ballistic missiles series. Author Christina Lin said North Korea's Taepo Dong
intermediate-range missiles have served as the basis of Iran's program,
including the design of a nuclear interncontinental ballistic missile with a
range of up to 6,000 kilometers, dubbed Shihab-6.
China has sought to make Iran a key waystation in Beijing's
silk road policy of expanding influence throughout
Asia. The report said Beijing, believed to be channeling aid through
neighboring North Korea, regarded Iran as an ally to balance the strategic
relationship between the United States and the Gulf Cooperation Council.
"Iran may also be a new pearl in China's maritime pearl
necklace," the report said. "China is increasing its naval presence in the
Arabian Sea and Indian Ocean, with a call in December 2009 by Chinese Rear Adm.
Yin Zhou to set up a permanent naval base in the Gulf of Aden."
The report did not discount the prospect that China would
establish a permanent naval base in Iran. Ms. Yin, today a researcher with
Jane's Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear Intelligence Center, said
China could be offered a naval base at one of Iran's islands in the Gulf.
"Iran may be inclined to offset U.S. pressure by playing
the 'China card' should the United States try to project military power by
utilizing some of the UAE's man-made islands," the report said. "Indeed, in
November 2009, NATO entered into the advanced stages of negotiating a Status of
Forces Agreement with the United Arab Emirates in the face of Iran's nuclear
The report said China was expected to block
United Nations Security Council sanctions against Iran. Ms. Lin compared
China's role to that of Russia's alliance with Serbia when it came under attack
by a Western-led coalition in 1999.
Regardless of UN sanctions, North Korea would continue to
funnel weapons and technology to Iran, the report said. Ms. Lin said Iran has
financed North Korean research and development of ballistic missiles and other
"Iran and DPRK have partnered closely on missile
flight-testing, proxy testing of DPRK systems in Iran, and data exchanges,"
the report said. "Proxy testing in Iran of jointly developed missiles allowed
DPRK to avoid sanctions after the September 1999 missile test moratorium while
continuing its missile advances."
The report said the Damascus-Pyongyang alliance has spread
to Syria and Hizbullah. This has included North Korean construction of an
alleged plutonium production plant in Syria as well as constructing tunnels for
Hizbullah in southern Lebanon.
"The three top Hizbullah officials who received training in
DPRK are Hassan Nasrallah, Hizbullah's secretary general and the head of the
Hizbullah military organization; Ibrahim Akil, head of Hizbullah's security and
intelligence service; and Mustapha Badreddine, Hizbullah's counter-espionage
chief," the report said.