Ros-Lehtinen, Berman slam WIPO's review into alleged shipments to Iran, North Korea

"Those responsible for this outrageous misuse of U.S. technology and U.S. taxpayer dollars must be held fully accountable, and meaningful safeguards must be put in place to prevent these kinds of technology transfers in the future," the committee leaders said.

WIPO said in a release on its website Thursday that "initial steps are being undertaken for a full external and independent review of the technical assistance provided to countries subject to U.N. sanctions," among a list of other actions. It added that the organization is treating concerns relating to the agency's technical assistance programs in U.N. sanctioned countries "with the utmost seriousness."

The 185-member U.N. agency is responsible for promoting the use of intellectual property to encourage innovation and economic development, according to WIPO’s website. Part of its mission also includes assisting developing countries in building IP infrastructure, such as updating patent systems.