Saudi Arabia Flag for Saudi Arabia

Country Spotlight

Although Saudi Arabia does not possess weapons of mass destruction, Saudi officials have expressed that they will acquire nuclear weapons if their regional rival, Iran, does. Since its 2015 intervention in Yemen, Saudi Arabia has been the target of missile attacks by Houthi militias.

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Region   Middle East and North Africa

1987 First believed to have purchased intermediate-range ballistic missiles from China

$15 billion U.S. Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system purchased in 2018

2015 Signed small quantities protocol with the IAEA


  • Has never openly pursued a nuclear weapons program; intentions to pursue uranium enrichment have caused international nonproliferation concerns
  • Plans to construct two nuclear power reactors by 2040
  • Agreed to implement the IAEA’s Comprehensive Safeguards Agreement in September 2023

Saudi Arabia Nuclear Overview


  • Has never pursued a biological weapons program
  • 2005 domestic law prohibits the manufacture and storage of biological weapons


  • Possesses intermediate range ballistic missiles, purchased from China
  • Established capacity to indigenously manufacture ballistic missiles as of 2021
  • U.S. removed missile defenses in 2021 as part of a larger regional drawdown

Saudi Arabia Missile Overview


  • Has never pursued a chemical weapons program
  • 2005 domestic law prohibits the manufacture and storage of chemical weapons

Treaties and Regimes Memberships

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The NPT is a treaty aimed at limiting the spread of nuclear weapons through the three pillars of non-proliferation, disarmament, and peaceful use of nuclear energy.

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Biological Weapons Convention (BWC)

The BTWC mandates the elimination of existing biological weapons and prohibits developing, stockpiling, or using biological and toxin weapons.

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Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC)

The Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) requires countries to destroy all chemical weapons and prohibits developing, stockpiling, or using chemical weapons.

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Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism (GICNT)

The GICNT is an international partnership intended to improve international capacity for prevention, detection, and response to nuclear terrorism, particularly the acquisition, transport, or use of nuclear and radiological materials.

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Saudi Arabia

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