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Undecided

Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia has explicitly threatened to swiftly acquire nuclear weapons should Iran do so. Thus, if Saudi Arabia were today a party to the TPNW, there would be issues of possible compliance related to the Treaty's prohibition on development of nuclear weapons, which would need to be addressed by a meeting of states parties.

TPNW Status

SIGNATURE
DEPOSIT WITH UNSG
ENTRY INTO FORCE
DECLARATION
TPNW Article 1(1) prohibitions: Compatibility in 2022
(a) Develop, produce, manufacture, acquire Of concern
Test Compatible
Possess or stockpile Compatible
(b) Transfer Compatible
(c) Receive transfer or control Compatible
(d) Use Compatible
Threaten to use Compatible
(e) Assist, encourage or induce Compatible
(f) Seek or receive assistance Compatible
(g) Allow stationing, installation, deployment Compatible
TPNW voting and participation
UNGA resolution on TPNW (latest vote) Abstained (2023)
Participated in 1MSP (2022) No
1MSP delegation size (% women) N/A
Adoption of TPNW (7 July 2017) Voted yes
Participated in TPNW negotiations (2017) Yes
Negotiation mandate (A/RES/71/258) Voted yes
Other weapons of mass destruction (WMD) treaties
Party to an NWFZ No
Party to the NPT Yes (Acceded 1988)
Ratified the CTBT No
Party to the BWC Yes (Ratified 1972)
Party to the CWC Yes (Ratified 1996)
IAEA safeguards and fissile material
Safeguards agreement Yes (13 Jan 2009)
TPNW Art 3(2) deadline N/A
Small Quantities Protocol Yes (Original)
Additional Protocol No
Enrichment facilities/reprocessing plants No
HEU stocks No
Plutonium stocks No

Latest developments

Saudi Arabia possesses a sizable stockpile of mineable uranium ore; has announced an intention to build several nuclear reactors across the country; and possesses several types of ballistic missiles that could be used to deliver nuclear weapons. While these factors do not necessarily indicate the country’s interest in developing nuclear weapons at this time, Saudi Arabia’s Small Quantities Protocol exempts the country from IAEA monitoring and inspections obligations, which increases ambiguity around the country’s nuclear intentions and capabilities.

Marking the International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons on 26 September 2022, Saudi Arabia said that it ‘gives special attention to acceding to all the treaties and agreements that would help to eliminate all forms of nuclear weapons, achieve peace and stability, and reduce the risks of wars where internationally forbidden weapons are used’.1

Saudi Arabia voted in favour of adopting the TPNW at the UN Diplomatic Conference in 2017. After having voted in favour of the previous annual UN General Assembly resolutions on the Treaty, Saudi Arabia abstained on the vote in 2021 and 2022.

Recommendations

  • Saudi Arabia should comply with its existing obligation under Article VI of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) and pursue negotiations in good faith on nuclear disarmament.

  • Saudi Arabia should urgently adhere to the TPNW. Until it is in a position to do so, it should welcome the TPNW as a valuable component in the global disarmament and non-proliferation architecture, work with the Treaty's states parties on practical steps towards disarmament, and attend the meetings of states parties as an observer.

  • Saudi Arabia should conclude and bring into force an Additional Protocol with the IAEA, and rescind its Small Quantities Protocol.

  • Saudi Arabia should also adhere to the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT).

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