Jump to content

How Iran Went Nuclear


Recommended Posts


Veteran weapons inspector Olli Heinonen on how the U.N.'s 'Stockholm Syndrome' has aided Tehran's drive for the bomb—and why an unsettling secret may be lurking in the Iranian desert.




Cambridge, Mass.


It has been more than three years since President Obama revealed the existence of the secret Iranian nuclear facility at Fordo—a uranium-enrichment plant buried deep inside a mountain and surrounded by missile silos and anti-aircraft batteries. Is the world due for another surprise soon?


If anyone has standing to speculate, it is Olli Heinonen, who says he first "got a whiff" of Fordo six years before Mr. Obama acknowledged it. In the fall of 2003, Mr. Heinonen was in his office at the International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna when a man appeared unannounced. The "walk-in"—whom Mr. Heinonen hasn't previously discussed, and whose nationality he won't disclose—claimed that Iran was replicating its existing uranium-enrichment facility in an underground site near the holy city of Qum. And so it was, as the IAEA and Western spy agencies later confirmed.


But that isn't all the walk-in shared in 2003. Also under construction in Iran, he said, was a duplicate of the Arak heavy-water facility designed to produce plutonium. In other words, the walk-in said that Iran had at least two secret sites, and he was correct on the first. What about the second—is there a plutonium facility that remains secret today?


Mr. Heinonen can't say as we sit in his office at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government, where he has been a senior fellow since retiring as IAEA deputy director-general in 2010. Yet he offers a warning based on his 27 years of IAEA nuclear-inspection work in Iran, North Korea, Iraq, Syria and elsewhere:



Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • 1701934191
  • Create New...