Each State Party undertakes never under any circumstances to: ‘Transfer to any recipient whatsoever nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices or control over such weapons or explosive devices directly or indirectly.’
• ‘Transfer’ means to transmit either possession or ownership.
• Because transfer is prohibited ‘to any recipient whatsoever’ and irrespective of whether this occurs ‘directly or indirectly’, it is also illegal to transmit possession or ownership to any other state or to any natural or ‘legal’ person (e.g. a company or organization) of key components of any nuclear explosive device in separate instalments or via intermediaries or third parties where there is knowledge they will be used to produce a nuclear weapon or other nuclear explosive device.
• Unlawful transfer does not necessarily involve payment or other form of ‘consideration’.
• Under Article 1 of the NPT, the five nuclear-weapon states parties have committed never to transfer nuclear weapons ‘to any recipient whatsoever’. The NPT does not include a corresponding prohibition on non-nuclear-weapon states to either transfer nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices or to assist in a transfer. These important lacunae are addressed by Article 1(1)(b) and (e) of the TPNW.