Magazine article Arms Control Today

CIA, DIA Provide New Details on CW, BW Programs in Iran and Russia

Magazine article Arms Control Today

CIA, DIA Provide New Details on CW, BW Programs in Iran and Russia

Article excerpt

IN LATE JULY, the CIA and the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) released new details about the chemical and biological weapons programs in Iran and Russia. The information was contained in CIA and DIA responses to questions submitted by the Senate Select Intelligence Committee and released in a committee hearing report (No. 104-510).

According to the agencies, Iran's chemical weapons program is continually expanding and improving. The current stockpile of agents held by Tehran includes 2,000 or more tons of sulfur mustard, phosgene and cyanide agents. Moreover, Iran is enhancing its chemical weapons infrastructure and munitions capabilities in order to develop nerve agents and to reduce its dependence on imported raw materials. The CIA estimates that Iran is capable of producing an additional 1,000 tons of chemical weapons per year, deliverable in a variety of weapons including artillery shells, mortars and aerial bombs.

These same delivery systems may be used to deliver Iranian biological weapons, according to the CIA. Both agencies agree that Iran has had an active offensive biological weapons program since the early to mid-1980s. Iran's scientific and technical infrastructure is advanced enough to develop and field biological weapons without foreign assistance and within the next decade will present a threat to the region.

The CIA's response goes even further maintaining that Tehran has probably investigated the use of both toxins and live agents for biological munitions, and already holds stocks of both biological agents and weapons. …

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