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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. The Nuclear Weapons Ban Monitor has therefore listed Saudi Arabia as a state of concern.

TPNW Article 1(1) prohibitions: Compatibility in 2021
(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
2021 UNGA resolution on TPNW
2020 UNGA resolution on TPNW
2019 UNGA resolution on TPNW Voted yes
2018 UNGA resolution on TPNW Voted yes
Participated in TPNW negotiations Yes
Share of women in TPNW negotiations 25%
Vote on adoption of treaty text Voted yes
Adoption of TPNW (7 July 2017) Voted yes
IAEA safeguards and fissile material
Safeguards Agreement Yes
TPNW Art 3(2) deadline N/A
Small Quantities Protocol Yes (Original)
Additional Protocol No
Fissile material production facilities No
Highly enriched uranium stocks No
Plutonium stocks (mil/civ) No/No
Related treaties and regimes
Party to the BWC Yes
Party to the CWC Yes
Party to the PTBT No
Ratified the CTBT No
Party to the NPT Yes
Party to a NWFZ No
Member of the CD 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.

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.


  • Saudi Arabia should urgently adhere to the TPNW.
  • Saudi Arabia should conclude and bring into force an Additional Protocol with the IAEA, and rescind its Small Quantities Protocol. Saudi Arabia should also sign and ratify the CTBT.

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