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Country Profile

 

CHINA

 

Chemical: 

China has declared the existence of former chemical weapons production and weaponization facilities.  A physical chemical weapons stockpile has not been declared. China has been the leading supplier of chemical weapons to Pakistan and Iran, though recent developments suggest that China is working to abide by international standards on this issue.  According to 1997 Department of Defense Reports, the Chinese arsenal then maintained a full range of traditional agents, while also possessing an advanced delivery capability with tube artillery, rockets, mortars, aerial bombs, basic landmines, and aerosol sprays.

China signed the Chemical Weapons Convention on January 13, 1993, and is suspected of having destroyed their chemical weapons stockpile in preparation for ratifying the Convention. 

             

Biological:

China claims not to possess a biological weapons stockpile or to be researching the development of biological agents.  Independent intelligence indicates that in fact research is being conducted at two civilian research facilities known to be under control of the military. 

China signed the Biological & Toxin Weapons Convention on November 15, 1984, but it is believed that the biological weapon program continued to expand after the fact.

 

*SOURCES: Center for Defense Information (CDI) http://www.cdi.org

                            United Nations Homepage (UN) http://www.un.org

Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) http://www.sipri.org

     

IRAN

 

Chemical:

Iran has one of the largest chemical weapons stockpiles in the third world. Iran used chemical weapons during the 1980-1988 Iran-Iraq war.  The CIA testified to the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence that, “Iran’s stockpile is composed of several thousand tons of CW agents”.  Some of the agents include: sulfur, mustard gas, phosgene, and cyanide.  Iran is known to be a receiver and supplier of chemical weapons.  In 1997 The United States placed sanctions on various Chinese entities for contributing to Iran’s chemical weapons program.  Also, Iran supplied Libya in 1987 with agents known to have chemical weapons applications.

Iran signed the Chemical Weapons Convention on January 13, 1993.  It is unknown whether Iran has halted its progress on chemical weapons production after the ratification of the Convention in 1997.  No international inspections of production and storage facilities have been carried out and Iran has not made a declaration to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW).

 

Biological

Iran is thought to be developing various types of biological weaponry.  The Defense Intelligence Agency has testified that, “Iran’s biological weapons program has the momentum to mature into a weapons capability and to pose a regional threat during the next decade.” 

A New York Times interview was conducted introducing several former Soviet biological weapons scientists that attested to having been approached by the Iranian government to aid in Iran’s program, some of which have relocated to Iran.  Apparently, the Iranians are pursuing genetic engineering as a form of germ weaponry wherein particular racial or ethnic groups could be targeted.  The Iranian government declined to comment on the article.

Iran signed the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention on April 10, 1972, yet intelligence reports confirm that Iran has continued to pursue chemical weapons capability.

 

*SOURCES: Center for Defense Information (CDI) http://www.cdi.org

                            United Nations Homepage (UN) http://www.un.org

Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) http://www.sipri.org

IRAQ

 

Chemical:

Iraq has a tried and tested chemical weapons program.  The agents employed by the country include: mustard gases, nerve agent sarin, vx, and tabun.  Estimates of Iraq’s chemical weapons stockpile conclude that Iraq has failed to declare up to as much as 600 metric tons of weaponized and bulk agents.  In addition, as many as 25,000 rockets and 15,000 artillery shells remain unaccounted for, thought an accurate assessment of the current size and scope of Iraq’s stockpile is not possible.

Between 1983 and 1988 Baghdad launched various agents against both the Iranians and the Kurdish population in Iraq.  After the Persian Gulf War in 1991, the UN Security Council established a special commission to oversee destruction of Iraq’s chemical, biological weapons and ballistic missile stockpiles (UNSCOM).  In 1998, UNSCOM closed its verification center in Baghdad for the commencement of British and US air strikes.  The ultimate goals was to bring Saddam Hussein to commit to the complete destruction if his Weapons of Mass Destruction Program.

Iraq has not signed the Chemical Weapons Convention.

 

Biological:

Iraq has admitted to the existence of defensive and offensive biological warfare capability.  The weapons declaration included 8,500 liters of Anthrax, 19,000 of bolutinun toxin, and 2,200 of aflatoxin. Iraq also declared munitions such as: Scud missile warheads, and aerial bombs and dispensers. 

Iraq signed the Biological & Toxin Weapons Convention on May 11, 1972. 

UNSCOM has overseen the destruction of the bulk of Iraq’s declared biological weapons stockpile, but commission officials believe Baghdad has vastly understated its production.

 

*SOURCES: Center for Defense Information (CDI) http://www.cdi.org

                            United Nations Homepage (UN) http://www.un.org

Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) http://www.sipri.org

 

 

ISRAEL

 

Chemical:

Israel has not declared the existence of an Israeli Chemical Weapons program, though various events have led to the alleged existence of such a program.  For example, in 1997 and Israeli businessman was charged with selling chemical weapons components to Iran, including mustard and nerve gas agents.

Israel signed the Chemical Weapons Convention on January 13, 1993.

 

Biological:

The size and scope of Israel’s Biological Weapons Program is unknown.  The National Institute for Biological Research in Ness Ziona has been reported to focus on less then a quarter of its work towards biological or chemical warfare.  The Israeli government has not admitted to pursuing an offensive biological weapon capability, though The Military Balance Report, based on U.S. intelligence sources, indicates that at the very least it has pursued offensive research.

Israel has not signed the Biological & Toxin Weapons Convention.

 

*SOURCES: Center for Defense Information (CDI) http://www.cdi.org

                            United Nations Homepage (UN) http://www.un.org

Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) http://www.sipri.org

 

 

 

 

 

 

LIBYA

 

Chemical:

Libya presently possesses a chemical weapons stockpile wherein the size and scope are unknown.  Though Libya lacks a solid technical foundation to build an independent chemical weapons capability, the country continues to import chemical agents known to produce chemical weapons.  Also, construction on a chemical weapons production plant outside Tripoli continues.  Other countries, such as Iran and South Africa are suspected of providing Libya with agents, equipment, and advisors to further develop their chemical weapons program.

Libya has employed chemical weapons in combat in 1987 against Chadian troops.

Libya has not signed the Chemical Weapons Convention.

 

Biological:

There is evidence that Libya is in the process of acquiring biological weapons capability, but again, the exact size and scope are unknown.  Due to the neighboring countries, regional biological weapon history, and anti-Western perspective, the prospect of Libya representing a biological threat cannot be underestimated.

Libya signed the Biological & Toxin Weapons Convention on January 19, 1982.

 

*SOURCES: Center for Defense Information (CDI) http://www.cdi.org

                            United Nations Homepage (UN) http://www.un.org

Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) http://www.sipri.org

 

 

NORTH KOREA

 

Chemical:

The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea is suspected of possessing a large chemical weapons stockpile.  The chemical weapons program in North Korea is run by the Nuclear-Chemical Defense Bureau, which was created in 1981.  Its agents include, but are not limited to the following: mustard gas, phosgene, sarin and V-agents, soman, tabun, and hydrogen cyanide.  The stockpile ranges from 1, 000 metric tons to the high- end estimate of 5,000 metric tons given by the South Korean government. 

North Korea has not signed the Chemical Weapons Convention.

 

Biological:

The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea is suspected of also possessing a fair amount of biological weapons.  Although North Korea signed the Biological Weapons Convention, it has been involved in research and development for the past three decades.  Its pathogens include: anthrax, cholera, and bubonic plague. 

North Korea signed the Biological & Toxin Weapons Convention on March 13, 1987.

 

 

*SOURCES: Center for Defense Information (CDI) http://www.cdi.org

                            United Nations Homepage (UN) http://www.un.org

Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) http://www.sipri.org

 

 

RUSSIA

 

Chemical:

Russia has the world’s largest chemical weapons stockpile which includes ~44,000 tons of Soviet-era mustard gas, Lewisite, sarin, V-gas, and various other chemicals that affect the nervous and circulatory systems.   

Russia signed the Chemical Weapons Convention on January 13, 1993.

After signing the Convention, Russia moved to ratify it and was furthermore committed to the destruction of its entire chemical weapons stockpile.   Unfortunately, with a virtually bankrupt economy, Russia cannot afford to fund the destruction program.  Without the help of foreign aid, Russia may be forced to withdraw from the treaty.  A fear resonated that nations seeking Russia’s sophisticated weapons capabilities would provoke Russian scientists to hand over their intelligence.

 

Biological:

The Former Soviet Union’s covert Biological Weapons program began in 1973, though serious advances did not take off until the 1980’s.  The Soviet Program not only developed and stockpiled biological agents that could be countered by antibiotics or vaccines, but also focused on developing agents with no known cure on the theory that such agents would be the most effective weapons of mass destruction. At one point in time, over 60,000 people were involved in the research, development, and production of biological weapons.  This program was kept secret until the fall of the Soviet Union.  The agents included:  hundreds of tons of anthrax weapon formulation, dozens of tons of smallpox, the plague, and many others.

Russia signed the Biological & Toxins Weapons Convention on April 10, 1972.

In 1992, President Yeltsin signed the Russian Federation Decree No. 390, which forbade continued research or production of biological weapons. 

 

*SOURCES: Center for Defense Information (CDI) http://www.cdi.org

                            United Nations Homepage (UN) http://www.un.org

Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) http://www.sipri.org

 

SOUTH KOREA

 

Chemical:

South Korea is one of four countries that have declared the existence of a chemical weapons stockpile to the Organization for the Proliferation of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), and one of two countries that have begun to reimburse the Technical Secretariat for the costs of destroying their facilities.

South Korea signed the Chemical Weapons Convention on January 14, 1993.  It was then ratified in April 1997.  South Korea has cooperated fully with the OPCW, the administrative body overseeing the implementation of the Chemical Weapons Convention. 

 

Biological:

South Korea signed the Biological & Toxin Weapons Convention on April 10, 1972.

It is not known to possess or be seeking a biological weapons capability.

 

*SOURCES: Center for Defense Information (CDI) http://www.cdi.org

                            United Nations Homepage (UN) http://www.un.org

Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) http://www.sipri.org

 

SYRIA

 

Chemical:

Syria has an existing chemical weapons stockpile, but unlike its Arab neighbors, has never tested them.  Defense Department intelligence suggests that Syria’s agents include sarin gas, some of which has been weaponized for delivery capabilities, presumably to launch warheads at Israel.   

Syria has not signed the Chemical Weapons Convention.

 

Biological:

The United States suspects that Syria is pursuing a biological weapon capability, but the scope or extent is unknown.

Syria signed the Biological & Toxin Weapons Convention on March 14, 1972.

 

*SOURCES: Center for Defense Information (CDI) http://www.cdi.org

                            United Nations Homepage (UN) http://www.un.org

Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) http://www.sipri.org

 

TAIWAN

 

Chemical:

Taiwan is believed to be pursuing a chemical weapons capability, though little is known about the size or scope of the program.  According to the Chemical Weapons Atlas put out by the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, “The 1983 Special National Intelligence Estimate, cited in the Defense & Foreign Affairs Handbook, reported that Taiwan has an ‘aggressive high-priority program to develop both offensive and defensive capabilities’-but that information was deleted from the declassified version.”

Taiwan has not signed the Chemical Weapons Convention.

 

Biological:

There are suspicions that Taiwan is a proliferator of biological weapons and technology, but there is no conclusive evidence.  Taiwan has a number of specialists involved in microbiology and biotechnology research, and could conceivably pursue a biological weapons capability with relative ease.

Taiwan signed the Biological & Toxin Weapons Convention on April 10, 1972

(Not officially recognized as an independent state by the United Nations).

 

*SOURCES: Center for Defense Information (CDI) http://www.cdi.org

                            United Nations Homepage (UN) http://www.un.org

Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) http://www.sipri.org

 

 

 

 

 

 

UNITED STATES

 

Chemical:

The U.S. possesses the world’s second largest stockpile of chemical weapons, but has committed to destroying it by 2004.  In 1997, the United States declared that its stockpile consisted of over 30,000 tonnes of unitary chemical weapon agents and approximately 700 tonnes of binary components.  The agents include:  sarin, mustard gas, and VX nerve gas.  To date, the U.S. is the only country with an active chemical weapons destruction program.

The United States signed the Chemical Weapons Convention on January 13, 1993.  It is also ratified.

 

Biological:

The United States does not maintained a weaponized stockpile of biological weapons.  It retains one of the two known stockpiles of the smallpox virus, along with Russia.  The two countries decided they would retain their stockpiles until further research could be done to combat the disease.  The U.S. abides by its decision to pursue only defensive biological research, i.e. the development of vaccines to combat biological weapons.  In November 1969, then president Richard Nixon signed an executive order renouncing the use of biological weapons and promising to confine further research to “defensive measures”. 

The United States signed the Biological & Toxin Weapons Convention on April 10, 1972.

 

*SOURCES: Center for Defense Information (CDI) http://www.cdi.org

                            United Nations Homepage (UN) http://www.un.org

Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) http://www.sipri.org

 

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