Summary: Non-signatory Iran acknowledges the humanitarian rationale for the convention and says it is against the use of cluster munitions, but has objections to key provisions of the convention and the process that created it. Iran abstained from voting on a key UN resolution on the convention in December 2016 and has participated in a meeting of the convention only once, in 2011. Iran is not known to have used cluster munitions, but it has imported, may have produced, and likely stockpiles them.
The Islamic Republic of Iran has not acceded to the Convention on Cluster Munitions.
Iran acknowledges the humanitarian rationale for the convention, but objects to key provisions of the convention as well as the fast-track process that created it. In November 2015, Iran articulated its long-standing objections to both the process and content of the Convention on Cluster Munitions. It made the remarks in an explanation of its decision to abstain from the vote on the first resolution by the UN General Assembly (UNGA) on the Convention on Cluster Munitions, which urges states outside the convention on “to join as soon as possible.” In December 2016, Iran abstained from voting on another UNGA resolution on the convention, but did not provide an explanation of its vote.
According to the 2015 statement, Iran told UNGA First Committee on Disarmament and International Security:
We share the view that the process leading to the conclusion of the Convention on Cluster Munitions, by bypassing the United Nations disarmament machinery, disregarded the interests of many States. As clearly stated in the SSOD-I Final Document, all States have a vital interest in and right to participate on an equal footing in those multilateral disarmament negotiations that have a direct bearing on their national security. Circumventing the United Nations disarmament machinery and later bringing in an instrument that was negotiated and concluded in an exclusive process outside that machinery is neither acceptable nor in line with the objectives of the United Nations. Therefore, we believe that such a process should not be encouraged or promoted by the General Assembly.
Iran said it abstained because of the draft resolution’s “substantive nature and, inter alia, calls for the implementation of the Convention on Cluster Munitions, an instrument in whose negotiation my country did not participate, and accordingly is neither a party to nor a signatory thereof.”
Iran presented the same argument in a September 2011 statement to the convention’s States Parties. Iranian officials have also said the convention does not include major producers of cluster munitions and argue that it allows for joint military operations with states not party that use cluster munitions.
Iran did not participate in the Oslo Process that created the convention.
Iran participated as an observer in the convention’s Second Meeting of States Parties, hosted by Lebanon in Beirut in September 2011. This is, to date, its only attendance at a meeting of the convention. It was invited to, but did not attend the Sixth Meeting of States Parties in September 2016.
Iran is not party to the Mine Ban Treaty or the Convention on Conventional Weapons.
Use, production, transfer, and stockpiling
Iran is not known to have used cluster munitions.
Iran has imported cluster munitions, may have produced them, and likely stockpiles them.
Jane’s Information Group lists Iran as possessing KMGU dispensers that deploy submunitions, PROSAB-250 cluster bombs, and BL755 cluster bombs. Additionally, Iran possesses Grad 122mm surface-to-surface rockets as well as a number of types of 122mm, 240mm, and 333mm rockets that it produces, but it is not known if these include versions with submunition payloads.
In September 2011, Iran stated that it is contaminated by cluster munitions used during the Iran-Iraq War. According to one source, Iraq used air-dropped cluster bombs against Iranian troops in 1984 during the war.
According to a United States (US) Navy document, on 18 April 1988, US Navy aircraft attacked Iranian Revolutionary Guard speedboats and an Iranian Navy ship with 18 Mk-20 Rockeye bombs during Operation Praying Mantis.
 In 2012, Iran said that its experience of being contaminated by cluster munition remnants means it “shares the humanitarian aspects” of the Convention on Cluster Munitions. It stated that “we ourselves are faced with a huge problem of contaminated lands due to the leftover mines and cluster munitions and other explosive remnants of war already used by Saddam’s army.” Statement of Iran, UNGA First Committee on Disarmament and International Security, New York, 1 November 2012.
 “Implementation of the Convention on Cluster Munitions,” UNGA Resolution 70/54, 7 December 2015.
 “Implementation of the Convention on Cluster Munitions,” UNGA Resolution 71/45, 5 December 2016.
 “We commend and support all efforts made to save civilians. However it goes without saying that in order to be effective a convention regulating aspects of cluster munitions should include the major producers and former users of these munitions.” Iran added that in order for “such an instrument to be universal” it should be concluded “within the framework of the United Nations.” Statement by Gholamhossein Dehghani, Director-General for Political International Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Convention on Cluster Munitions Second Meeting of States Parties, Beirut, 13 September 2011.
 Interview with Reza Najafi, Director for Disarmament and International Security, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Islamic Republic of Iran, in New York, 23 October 2012.
 Later, in 2012, it acknowledged this was its first participation in a meeting of the convention and described its presence as an indication of support for Lebanon, as “the main victims of cluster bombs used by Zionist regime” in 2006. Statement of Iran, UNGA First Committee on Disarmament and International Security, New York, 1 November 2012.
 Robert Hewson, ed., Jane’s Air-Launched Weapons, Issue 44 (Surrey, UK: Jane’s Information Group Limited, 2004), p. 840.
 International Institute for Strategic Studies, The Military Balance 2011 (London: Routledge, 2011), p. 309; and Colin King, ed., Jane’s Explosive Ordnance Disposal 2007–2008, CD-edition, 15 January 2008 (Surrey, UK: Jane’s Information Group Limited, 2008).
 Anthony H. Cordesman and Abraham R. Wagner, Lessons of Modern War Volume II: The Iran-Iraq War (Boulder, Colorado: Westview Press, 1990), p. 210. The bombs were reportedly produced by Chile.
 Memorandum from the Commanding Officer of the USS Enterprise (CVN-65) to the Director of Naval History (OP-09BH), “1988 Command History,” 27 February 1989, p. 20.