N. Korea agrees to supply 4 mini-submarines to Iran: source
North Korea has agreed to supply four mini-submarines to Iran by mid-July, raising the level of alert in neighboring countries, a diplomatic source said Wednesday.
The agreement was reached when North Korean Vice Foreign Minister Kim Yong Il made a visit to Iran in May, the source familiar with relations between Tehran and Pyongyang told Kyodo News.
The arms deal was part of North Korea's repaying debts owed to Iran, amounting to several hundred million dollars, the source said.
Details about the deal such as specific types of the submarines and ways to transport them were not available.
"During the visit of Kim Yong Il in Iran, it was agreed that North Korea would deliver 4 mini-submarines to Iran within the next two months, not later than July 15 this year," the source said.
The source raised concerns that Iran may mobilize the North Korean-made submarines near the Strait of Hormuz and may pose threats to naval vessels deployed by the United States.
During his stay in Iran, Kim met with senior officials, including Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki and First Vice President Parviz Davudi, the source said.
In addition, Kim also promised to consider supplying a midsize submarine retired by the North Korean navy a year and a half ago, according to the source.
Moreover, two senior officials of a company affiliated with the North Korean military also gave detailed descriptions of arms that could be immediately supplied, such as antitank missiles, and a senior official of Iran's Revolutionary Guard was present.
Meanwhile, North Korea and Iran are believed to have cooperative ties in the military sector with Pyongyang exporting components related to ballistic missiles to Iran since 1980s and Tehran passing data on missile tests to North Korea.
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