Document Type : Article


1 Assistant Professor of Payame Noor University, Tehran, Iran

2 MSc in International Law, Payame Noor University, Tehran, Iran


Testing nuclear weapons can be a cause of environmental pollution in the outer space and consequently the Earth. Article 9 of the 1967 Outer Space Treaty stipulates that the environment of the Earth should not be polluted resulting from the introduction of extraterrestrial matter but Article 4 of this treaty only prohibits the deployment of weapons of mass destruction in space and has no rules for banning nuclear weapons testing. Despite the prohibition of nuclear weapons testing in outer space by the 1963 Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty, it lacks verification mechanisms. The Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty prohibits nuclear testing and nuclear explosions in all environments, but has not yet entered into force. This article by using a descriptive-analytical method analyzes outer space, environmental and nuclear instruments to establish the obligations of states when testing nuclear weapons in the outer space. Given the diverse interests of states capable of conducting these tests, modifying current legal instruments on the outer space is unattainable. Therefore, it seems that the method adopted in the 1959 Antarctic Treaty can be used and an Additional Protocol including environmental behavioral guidelines can be annexed to the Outer Space Treaty .


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