December 14, 2011:
Efforts to discover where Iran is getting forbidden (by many embargoes) military materials has revealed North Korea is a major supplier of essential materials for missiles and nuclear weapons. One of the most valuable smuggled goods are hundreds of tons of special metals that Iran cannot produce itself (specialized aluminum alloys, tungsten-copper plates, tungsten metal powder, and maraging steel). As well as hundreds of electronic components essential for missile control and guidance systems. Chinese firms are known to supply some of these items, as well as help in buying and moving exotic materials from firms outside China, and getting the stuff to Iran.
Finding what North Korea is sending to Iran, and how, enables pressure to be applied to China and Russia. Both these countries officially, or unofficially, allow North Korea to smuggle material to Iran and Syria. The U.S. has had success finding and punishing (with huge fines) U.S., European, and Chinese banks that secretly helped Iran carry out these illegal transactions. These efforts aren't stopping Iranian weapons programs but are slowing it down and making it a lot more expensive.