Iran and Weapons of Mass Destruction

Iran And Weapons Of Mass Destruction

Iran is not known to currently possess weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and has signed treaties repudiating the possession of weapons of mass destruction including the Biological Weapons Convention, the Chemical Weapons Convention, and the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). Iran has first-hand knowledge of WMD effects--over 100,000 Iranian troops and civilians were victims of chemical weapons during the 1980s Iran–Iraq War. On ideological grounds, a public and categorical religious decree (fatwa) against the development, production, stockpiling and use of nuclear weapons has been issued by the supreme leader of the Islamic Republic Ali Khamenei along with other clerics, though it is approved by some relatively minor clerics. Iran has stated its uranium enrichment program is exclusively for peaceful purposes. The IAEA has confirmed the non-diversion of declared nuclear material in Iran, but has also said it "needs to have confidence in the absence of possible military dimensions to Iran’s nuclear programme." The IAEA has pointed out that Iran is not implementing the requirements of UN Security Council Resolutions and needs to cooperate to clarify outstanding issues and meet requirement to provide early design information on its nuclear facilities.

In a 2007 National Intelligence Estimate, the United States Intelligence Community assessed that Iran had ended "nuclear weapon design and weaponization work" in 2003. In 2009, U.S. intelligence assessed that Iranian intentions were unknown but that if Iran pursued a nuclear weapon it would be "unlikely to achieve this capability before 2013" and acknowledged "the possibility that this capability may not be attained until after 2015." Some European intelligence believes Iran has resumed its alleged nuclear weapons design work. Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said he had seen no evidence of any nuclear weapons program in Iran, while Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said Iran was getting closer to having the capability to produce nuclear weapons. Iran has called for nuclear weapons states to disarm and for the Middle East to be a nuclear weapon free zone.

After the IAEA voted in a rare non-consensus decision to find Iran in non-compliance with its NPT Safeguards Agreement and to report that non-compliance to the UN Security Council, the Council demanded that Iran suspend its nuclear enrichment activities and imposed sanctions against Iran when Iran refused to do so. Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has argued that the sanctions are illegal. The IAEA has been able to verify the non-diversion of declared nuclear material in Iran, but not the absence of undeclared activities. The Non-Aligned Movement has called on both sides to work through the IAEA for a solution.

In November 2009, the IAEA Board of Governors adopted a resolution against Iran which urged Iran to apply the modified Code 3.1 to its Safeguard Agreement, urged Iran to implement and ratify the Additional Protocol, and expressed "serious concern" that Iran had not cooperated on issues that needed "to be clarified to exclude the possibility of military dimensions to Iran's nuclear program." Iran said the "hasty and undue" resolution would "jeopardize the conducive environment vitally needed" for successful negotiations and lead to cooperation not exceeding its "legal obligations to the body".

Read more about Iran And Weapons Of Mass Destruction:  Biological Weapons, Chemical Weapons

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