Received 23.05.2022. Revised 05.07.2022. Accepted 02.08.2022.
Abstract. The problem of instability in the Middle East has been exacerbated by the desire of some regional countries to possess nuclear weapons. These attempts have always been successfully thwarted, however, in at least one case – in Iraq – implementation of a military nuclear program was prevented only due to a fortuitous conjuncture of events. These factors revealed gaps in the existing system of non-proliferation of nuclear weapons and prompted states to focus on the implementation of new measures aimed at improving them. Among such measures was the preparation of the Additional Protocol to the Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT), the signing of which is not mandatory for participation in global nuclear cooperation. Saudi Arabia is currently holding talks with other countries considering the possibility of developing a national nuclear program. In the context of rivalry with Iran, the Kingdom does not reject a possibility of implementing a military program. Both countries are signatories of the NPT, but neither of them is subject to the provisions of the Additional Protocol, which opens up wider opportunities for them to covertly use nuclear infrastructure for military purposes against the backdrop of escalating regional rivalry. A new threat to the nonproliferation regime is emerging, which requires a more specific approach.
Keywords: nuclear program, nonproliferation, nuclear energy, NPT, IAEA, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Rosatom
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