Iran hosts North Korean delegation for first time in four years

The Cradle, April 24, 2024 ─

Tehran and Pyongyang have for years been suspected of closely cooperating on missile development

A North Korean economic delegation was sent to the Islamic Republic of Iran, Pyongyang’s state news outlet reported on 24 April. 

The delegation, led by North Korea’s Minster of External Economic Relations Yun Jung Ho, left for Iran on 23 April, according to the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA). 

KCNA did not provide further details on the visit. 

The trip marks the first official talks between the two countries since the start of the global COVID-19 pandemic. 

Diplomatic exchanges between Tehran and Pyongyang continued until North Korea shuttered its borders in response to the pandemic. North Korea reopened its borders in 2023.

Iran and North Korea have for many years been suspected of close cooperation on missile development. 

In 2012, the two countries signed an agreement on scientific and technological cooperation. According to analysts, the two have since mutually benefited from one another’s missile programs and collaborated in staving off sanctions targeting their proliferation of weapons, particularly the procurement of specific missile components. 

The US and NATO have also warned of increased military cooperation between North Korea, Iran, and Russia – specifically in the wake of Moscow’s war in Ukraine. 

A South Korean newspaper reported last week, citing Seoul’s National Intelligence Service (NIS), that North Korean technology may have aided Iran’s Operation True Promise, which saw the Islamic Republic fire hundreds of drones and missiles at Israel in response to the destruction of the Iranian consulate in Syria at the start of this month. 

“We are keeping tabs on whether the North Korean technology was included in Iran’s ballistic missiles launched against Israel, given the North and Iran’s missile cooperation in the past,” South Korean intelligence said. 

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