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Introduction

From the 1960s to the early 1990s, Argentina's nuclear program and missile activities aroused concern that the country was seeking to develop nuclear weapons and possibly aid other countries in developing and delivering them. Argentina has since eschewed nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons but retains an ambitious nuclear energy program. It dismantled its ballistic missile program in the early 1990s.

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 Feb. 6, 2006
 Sep. 6, 2005
 May. 27, 2005

Nuclear
Argentina has never produced nuclear weapons and does not possess them today. From the 1960s to the early 1990s, however, Argentina pursued an ambitious program of nuclear energy and technological development, which included construction of an unsafeguarded uranium enrichment facility. Buenos Aires also refused to join the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) and to bring the Treaty of Tlatelolco into legal force. When democratic rule returned in 1983, the new president placed the nuclear program under civilian control and initiated a process of nuclear confidence building and cooperation with historic rival Brazil. In the early 1990s, the two countries established a bilateral inspection agency to verify both countries' pledges to use nuclear energy only for peaceful purposes. Argentina acceded to the NPT as a non-nuclear weapon state on February 10, 1995.
 

Biological
There are no indications to suggest that Argentina has ever possessed or sought to acquire biological weapons. It is a state party of the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention (BWC), having ratified it in November 1979. In September 1991, Argentina, together with Brazil and Chile, signed the Mendoza Accord, which commits signatories not to use, develop, produce, acquire, stock, or transfer—directly or indirectly—chemical or biological weapons. Argentina further strengthened its nonproliferation credentials when, in 1992, it became a member of the Australia Group, a voluntary system of export controls on chemical and biological agents, precursors, and equipment.
 

Chemical
There is no evidence that Argentina has ever had a chemical warfare program. Argentina has been active in CW nonproliferation efforts. In 1992, Argentina became a member of the Australia Group and, in October 1995, ratified the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC). Even before participation in these bodies, Argentina engaged in regional nonproliferation efforts; for example, Argentina signed the Mendoza Accord in 1991, which prohibits both chemical and biological warfare agents.
 

Missile
Argentina dismantled its medium-range ballistic missile program, the Cóndor II, in the early 1990s. The Cóndor missile program received technical support from a consortium of European firms and funding from Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Iraq. Argentina’s intent was to develop the Cóndor II not only for its own use—which was largely motivated by its loss in the Falklands/Malvinas War with Great Britain—but for export as well. Concerns that missile technology was reaching the Middle East caused the United States to pressure Argentina to end the program, which it did in 1992. Argentina became a member of the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) in 1993.
 
 

Updated February 2006



Islamist Terrorist Threat in the Tri-Border Region
Treaty of Tlatelolco & OPANAL
Treaties and Organizations
Argentina, Tracking Nuclear Proliferation (1998)
Argentina, Reaching Critical Will
Research Reactors in Argentina
Argentine Nuclear Firm, INVAP
Argentine Missile Program
The Argentine-Brazilian Nuclear Rapprochement
IAEA Country Profile: Argentina
Mendoza Declaration



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CNSThis material is produced independently for NTI by the Center for Nonproliferation Studies at the Monterey Institute of International Studies and does not necessarily reflect the opinions of and has not been independently verified by NTI or its directors, officers, employees, agents. Copyright © 2003 by MIIS.

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