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Iran – Exploring proliferation risks and proposing solutions

Country profile Iran cropped 1920 by 989

On the one hand, Iran has maintained its nuclear programme for peaceful purposes and until now has remained a member of the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). On the other hand, it has pursued a strategy of leaving open the option to acquire a nuclear weapon by advancing simultaneously both its nuclear and missile capabilities.

The international community has sought, and to some extent managed to counter Iran’s proliferation-sensitive activities through a variety of measures including nuclear safeguards, international sanctions regimes, as well as diplomatic and economic pressure and assuage.


This strand of work aims to understand Iran’s proliferation behaviour within the context of the restrictions placed upon it.

  • It does so by reporting on developments linked to the nuclear and missile programmes, by identifying and tracking the activities of entities involved in those programmes, by researching Iran’s technological and manufacturing capabilities for the production of proliferation- sensitive goods, and by researching the goods and knowledge Iran seeks to acquire via foreign channels.
  • This project also aims to understand how Iran evades international sanctions regimes, whether that be via maritime, financial, or cyber routes. By monitoring new sanctions designations, and by identifying evasion networks, this project thereafter provides reporting and analysis.



This project produces reports for governments and international organisations on proliferation networks and entities operating in connection with Iran, and on the manufacturing base for WMD technologies within the country. Our research outputs support an improved understanding of Iran’s proliferation-related trade and serve governments and international organisations in shaping policy objectives.

Media coverage

This project produced a range of media outputs, which feature in a variety of leading outlets and examine policy towards Iran from a variety of angles. These outputs principally contribute to debates in the non-proliferation and export control community on how best to address the Iranian nuclear challenge.

Academic understanding

This project publishes case-studies of Iran’s procurement activities with a view to understanding Iran’s proliferation-related trade. It also conducts data-driven research on various governments’ stances towards Iran with a view to producing academic understanding and uniting diverging positions.

Project status: Completed

Principal Investigator