Country Profiles: Libya

Libya flagNPT: 1975
CTBT: not signed
First Test: none
First Hydrogen Bomb: none

Current number of nuclear warheads: 0

Last Updated: 2/27/02

Libya ratified the Non-Proliferation Treaty in 1975 and agreed in 1980 to allow the IAEA to inspect its nuclear installations. However, Col. Mohamar Qadhafi made multiple announcements to the effect that Libya was going to acquire nuclear weapons in order to balance Israel. Libya sought help from numerous countries, including China, to this end, and also may have been involved with Pakistan’s nuclear program. However, these efforts ultimately fell through.

In 2003, Qadhafi renounced all of his regime’s weapons of mass destruction (WMD) programs, including nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons and their delivery systems. After the 2003 announcement, the Libyan government cooperated with American and British to verifiably dismantle its nuclear programs with assistance from the IAEA. 

Since teh August 2011 overthrow of the Qadhafi regime, the implications of a new Libyan government for the country’s future adherence to the non-proliferation regime remain unclear.

Updated April 2012


Cordesmann, Anthony H. The Military Balance in the Middle East: an Executive Summary. La Jolla: Institute on Global Conflict and Cooperation, 1999.