Between 1991 and 1997 he was director of the United Nations Special Commission on Iraq, the United Nations disarmament observers in Iraq after the Gulf War. In late July 2002 he reportedly said in the Svenska Dagbladet newspaper that during his time in this position he attempted to resist attempts by the United States to use the Commission to perform espionage. His successor as director was Richard Butler. Iraq suspended the inspections in 1998 after claiming that it was a cover for espionage.
Ekeus later became Sweden's ambassador to the United States and the chairman of the board of the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute.
See also: List of Swedish diplomats