Ambiguous ambitions

The saga of the Islamic Republic of Iran and the international legal framework regulating weapons of mass destruction

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry with Foreign Minister Javad Zarif of Iran in Vienna, Austria, on November 23, 2014, before the two begin a one-on-one meeting amid broader negotiations about the future of Iran’s nuclear program (Photo: State Department photo/ Public Domain. Duotone added)

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry with Foreign Minister Javad Zarif of Iran in Vienna, Austria, on November 23, 2014, before the two begin a one-on-one meeting amid broader negotiations about the future of Iran’s nuclear program (Photo: State Department photo/ Public Domain. Duotone added)

ILPI Programme Director Reza Lahidji has published a background paper on the saga of the Islamic Republic of Iran and the international legal framework regulating weapons of mass destruction. The article is accessible on the ILPI Weapons of Mass Destruction Project website.

The agreement signed on 14 July 2015 by the representatives of Iran and the so-called P5+1 (China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom, the United States and Germany) is considered a major development in international relations by its proponents and critics alike. If it is enacted by both sides and effectively implemented, the agreement will end more than a decade of crisis over Iran’s nuclear programme and twenty-five years of controversies about its policy with regard to weapons of mass destruction (WMD). This paper examines the history of Iran’s doctrine on WMD, of the handling of Iran’s case by international institutions governing the production of WMD, and of the internal debate on WMD in the Iranian political system and society. This history sheds light on both fundamental changes within the Islamic Republic of Iran and problematic aspects of the international non-proliferation regime.

Download the PDF here.

Lahidji, R 2015, 'Ambiguous ambitions: The saga of the Islamic Republic of Iran and the international legal framework regulating weapons of mass destruction', ILPI Weapon of Mass Destruction Project, Background Paper No. 17, September 2015.

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