| This page with graphics | Disarmament Diplomacy | Disarmament Documentation | ACRONYM Reports |

| Acronym Institute Home Page | Calendar | UN/CD | NPT/IAEA | UK | US | Space/BMD |

| CTBT | BWC | CWC | WMD Possessors | About Acronym | Links | Glossary |

WMD Possessors and Aspirants

Five states are defined as nuclear weapon states under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT):

At least three more are de facto nuclear weapon possessors (the D-3):

These eight have the most advanced missile programmes and have also had, and in some cases may continue to have, biological and/or chemical weapons or programmes.

Several further states are viewed as of proliferation concern or have programmes which have been exposed and are now being addressed and dismantled. These include:

This section gives news, analyses or documentation relating to the possession, proliferation or aspirations to acquire nuclear, chemical or biological weapons by states or groups other than Britain and the United States, which are covered in separate detail. This replaces previously separate features on Iraq, South Asia and Russia, but provides links to past coverage of those states or regions.

Recent coverage from Disarmament Diplomacy


In the first television interview since his inauguration, President Obama told the Arabic cable TV network al-Arabiya that "if countries like Iran are willing to unclench their fist, they will find an extended hand from us... It is very important for us to make sure that we are using all the tools of US power, including diplomacy, in our relationship with Iran."

Susan Rice, the new US ambassador to the United Nations has also called for "vigorous" and "direct" nuclear diplomacy with Iran. "We look forward to engaging in vigorous diplomacy, that includes direct diplomacy with Iran as well as continued collaboration and partnership with the P-5 plus one... And we will look at what is necessary and appropriate with respect to maintaining pressure towards that goal of ending Iran's nuclear program." she said

Since the Iranian elections relations with Iran have deteriorated with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton calling for "crippling sanctions" against Iran if it fails to cooperate on it nuclear programme (see Iran Nuclear Talks Reach Critical Stage). Iran has now agreed to further talks with the E3+3 (also known as the P5 + 1 as they are the five permanent members of the UN Security Council, along with Germany and the EU's Foreign Policy chief Javier Solana) in early October.

Coverage in Disarmament Diplomacy

Background Documents

Iran Proposals and Responses

UN Security Council Resolutions

See the Acronym Institute's Iran archive for further documents and analysis.

Back to the Top of the Page

North Korea

North Korea's Nuclear Test and the CTBT

North Korea is undermining international security with its high risk nuclear brinkmanship. In conducting its nuclear test, North Korea is playing a high risk game of nuclear brinkmanship that underscores the global urgency of bringing the CTBT into force (see Second North Korean Nuclear Test underscores urgency of CTBT and Disarmament).

North Korea probably hopes to put pressure on the Obama administration and the Six Party Talks, and increase the price of its denuclearisation as required by the UN Security Council. This test demonstrates the need to make the global prohibition on nuclear testing fully binding in international law. Condemnation is not enough: the US and China have particular responsibility and must accelerate their own efforts to ratify the CTBT.

For more on the CTBT go to Acronym's CTBT page.


In October 2008 a deal on verification was reached following North Korea's declaration on its nuclear programme (as agreed in the October 2007 agreement on 'Second Phase Actions' for implementing the 2005 Joint Statement on North Korea's nuclear programme). In return the US removed North Korea from the State Department's list of states sponsors of terrorism.

In recent months, however, North Korea has resisted implementation of the verification protocol and increased tensions, announcing that it intends to "scrap" all political and military agreements with the South and adopt an "all-out confrontational posture". Media reports suggest that North Korea may have "weaponised" approximately 30 kg of plutonium - enough to make 4 or 5 nuclear warheads.

On 5 April 2009, North Korea launched a rocket, which it claimed was a successful satellite launch, but which the US and others view as a cover for further ballistic missile development. Although North Korea claims that the launch was a success, reports in the US indicate that the rocket failed to launch anything into orbit and fell into the ocean. Whilst the US pushed for a strong statement from the UN Security Council, it was blocked by Russia and China, which urged restraint, referring to the right of nations to peaceful use of space. Japan has responded by unilaterally extending its sanctions against North Korea.

North Korea, however, has reacted angrily to condemnation of its launch and on 14 April, once again asked IAEA inspectors to leave its Yongbyon plant.

North Korea: Coverage in Disarmament Diplomacy

Government Documents and Statements

Key Documents

See Acronym's North Korea archive for previous coverage of the North Korea nuclear crisis including previous rounds of the six party talks.

Back to the Top of the Page


Iraq: Coverage in Disarmament Diplomacy

Iraq: Documents & Statements

Acronym Institute coverage of Iraq from 1998 - 2003 is available at: http://www.acronym.org.uk/iraq.

Back to the Top of the Page


Back to the Top of the Page

South Asia

On July 18, 2005, US President Bush and Indian President Manmohan Singh issued a joint statement, setting out their intention to cooperate a range of issues including high technology and space and "civilian" nuclear power. President Bush stated that "as a responsible state with advanced nuclear technology, India should acquire the same benefits and advantages as other such states." Bush announced that he would seek Congressional support to "adjust U.S. laws and policies", and that the United States would "work with friends and allies to adjust international regimes to enable full civil nuclear energy cooperation and trade with India." This is despite the fact that India has not signed the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

In 2009, Pakistan has played a particularly prominent role (along with China) in blocking consensus on an implementation framework for the CD's programme of work. Pakistan continues to seek military parity with India and continues to keep open the option of building up its supply of fissile materials.

South Asia: Documents & Statements

South Asia: Coverage in Disarmament Diplomacy

Acronym Institute coverage of South Asia from 1998 - 2003 is available at: http://www.acronym.org.uk/sasia/index.htm.

Libya: Documents & Analysis

Back to the Top of the Page

Russia: Documents & Statements

Following many years of disagreements between the US and Russia over missile defence, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev chose the day after Obama's election as President to announce new missile deployments aimed at countering US missile defence.

Subsequent statements from Russia, have however, been more conciliatory in tone. The US and Russia have agreed a framework for a follow-on to the START treaty, which is due to expire at the end of December 2009. Tensions continue, however, over US plans to deploy missile defence interceptors in Poland and the Czech republic.

Previous Acronym Institute coverage of Russia is available at: www.acronym.org.uk/wmd/russia.htm.

Back to the Top of the Page

France: Documents & Statements

Back to the Top of the Page

© 2009 The Acronym Institute.