Proliferation Control Regimes: Background and Status
LIBRARY OF CONGRESS WASHINGTON DC CONGRESSIONAL RESEARCH SERVICE
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Weapons of mass destruction WMD, especially in the hands of radical states and terrorists, represent a major threat to U.S. national security interests. Multilateral regimes were established to restrict trade in nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons and missile technologies, and to monitor their civil applications. Congress may consider the efficacy of these regimes in the 112th Congress. This report provides background and current status information on the regimes. The nuclear nonproliferation regime encompasses several treaties, extensive multilateral and bilateral diplomatic agreements, multilateral organizations and domestic agencies, and the domestic laws of participating countries. Since the dawn of the nuclear age, U.S. leadership has been crucial in developing the regime. While there is almost universal international agreement opposing the further spread of nuclear weapons, several challenges to the regime have arisen in recent years India and Pakistan tested nuclear weapons in 1998 North Korea announced its withdrawal from the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty NPT in 2003 and tested a nuclear explosive device in 2006 and 2009 Libya gave up a clandestine nuclear weapons program in 2004 Iran has been in non-compliance with its International Atomic Energy Agency safeguards obligations since 2005 and Syria was building a clandestine nuclear reactor with North Korean assistance until a 2007 Israeli military strike. The discovery of the nuclear black market network run by A.Q. Khan spurred new thinking about how to strengthen the regime, including greater restrictions on sensitive technology.
- Government and Political Science