The Knives are Out – Olli Heinonen’s Criticisms of Former IAEA Colleagues in the WSJPosted: March 2, 2013
I just saw this article in the WSJ, including excerpts from a lengthy interview with Olli Henonen. I find it shocking how he goes after his former IAEA colleagues, criticizing them for their “missteps” on both Iran and Syria. He even says that they developed the equivalent of “Stockholm Syndrome” with regard to these nations, and that this somehow explains why they were so kid-gloved in their treatment of Iran and Syria. Wow. That’s a pretty bold and offensive allegation to make about both DG ElBaradei and DG Blix.
What comes across to me in this article is a picture of Heinonen as the one with biases of mysterious origin. He comes across as hawkish, with the kind of inexplicable, discriminatory focus of attention on Arab/Persian countries in the ME (to be fair, he’s also worried about Pakistan), and a set of unfounded but deeply held suspicions, and similarly unfounded speculations of an exclusively negative quality, that one usually hears from US government officials and the DC nonproliferation community. Not the ideological company I would have expected the veteran Finnish diplomat to keep. But one’s true colors are one’s true colors. And I think that Heinonen is clearly showing them here, and that he wants to tell the world loud and clear what he thinks about his former bosses at the IAEA – like Nobel Peace Prize winner DG Elbaradei – whose fault it is that Iran has reached a point of industrial and scientific capacity that Japan, Germany, South Africa, Brazil, India, Israel, and South Korea also have, to name a few. But of course, we don’t need to worry about any of them.