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Olli Heinonen

Olli Heinonen

Senior Fellow, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs

Contact:
Email: olli_heinonen@hks.harvard.edu

 

Experience

Olli Heinonen is a Senior Fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs. His research and teachings include: nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament, verification of treaty compliance, enhancement of the verification work of international organizations, and transfer and control of peaceful uses of nuclear energy.

Before joining the Belfer Center in September 2010, Olli Heinonen served 27 years at the International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna. Heinonen was the Deputy Director General of the IAEA, and head of its Department of Safeguards. Prior to that, he was Director at the Agency’s various Operational Divisions, and as inspector including at the IAEA’s overseas office in Tokyo, Japan.

Heinonen led teams of international investigators to examine nuclear programmes of concern around the world and inspected nuclear facilities in South Africa, Iraq, North Korea, Syria, Libya and elsewhere, seeking to ensure that nuclear materials were not diverted for military purposes. He also spearheaded efforts to implement an analytical culture to guide and complement traditional verification activities. He led the Agency’s efforts to identify and dismantle nuclear proliferation networks, including the one led by Pakistani scientist A.Q. Khan, and he oversaw its efforts to monitor and contain Iran’s nuclear programme.

Prior to joining IAEA, he was a Senior Research Officer at the Technical Research Centre of Finland Reactor Laboratory in charge of research and development related to nuclear waste solidification and disposal. He is co-author of several patents on radioactive waste solidification.

Heinonen is the author of several articles, chapters of books, books, in publications ranging from the IAEA and nuclear non-proliferation issues, to regional nuclear developments. His writings and interviews have be published in various newspapers and magazines including: Foreign Policy, The Wall Street Journal, the Guardian, the Bulleting of the Atomic Scientists, Arms Control Today, Der Spiegel, Le Monde, the Helsingin Sanomat, the New York Times, the Mehr news, Die Stern, the Haaretz, the New Statesman, the Washington Post, the BBC, and the Time. His policy briefings have been published by the Belfer Center,  the Atlantic Council, the Nautilus Institute, the Institute for Science and International Security, the Nonproliferation Policy Education Center,  the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, and the Carnegie Endowment.

Olli Heinonen studied radiochemistry and completed his PhD dissertation in nuclear material analysis at the University of Helsinki.

 

 

By Date

 

2016

AP

January 2015

"Beyond Implementation Day: A Brief Statement on U.S. Policy Toward Iran"

Op-Ed, Washington Institute for Near East Policy

By Olli Heinonen, Senior Fellow, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs

For more than three years, members of the bipartisan Iran Study Group have convened regularly under the auspices of The Washington Institute for Near East Policy to discuss the status of the Iran nuclear issue, frequently benefitting from the input of senior administration officials. Last June, with the target date looming for completion of the nuclear talks, members of the group issued a statement offering their consensus view on aspects of those negotiations and on broader U.S. Middle East policy. As the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) now moves into a new phase with Implemen- tation Day, members of the group believe it is timely and appropriate to issue this new consensus statement on U.S. policy. The Belfer Center's Olli Heinonen joined the Iran Study Group to produce the attached detailed statement.

 

 

AP

January 21, 2016

"Beyond Implementation Day: Transparency and Enforcement for the Long Term"

Op-Ed

By Olli Heinonen, Senior Fellow, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs

Implementation Day marked the beginning of the true test of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). The success of the JCPOA in containing Iran’s nuclear capabilities depends on full transparency and vigorous verification and monitoring. While the JCPOA caps Tehran’s nuclear capabilities in the early years, the deal may, over the long term, contribute to a proliferation cascade that will make the world’s most volatile region all the more combustible.

 

2015

AP

December 18, 2015

"Evolving International Nuclear Safeguards"

Event Summary

By Olli Heinonen, Senior Fellow, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs

Olli Heinonen led a seminar at the Argonne National Laboratory on the International Atomic Engergy Agency (IAEA) nuclear safeguards on December 18th as part of the Physics Division Colloquium Series.

 

 

AP

December 8, 2015

"Next Steps in the Implementation of the JCPOA"

Policy Brief

By Olli Heinonen, Senior Fellow, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs

When the new report is brought before the IAEA’s Board of Governors on December 15, it should adopt a resolution based on: a credible baseline for monitoring and verification; assurances, with high confidence, that all weapons-related activities have been terminated; and future sampling and investigations carried out in-situ by IAEA inspectors and experts.

 

 

AP

November 16, 2015

Strengthening the Verification and Implementation of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action

Report

By Olli Heinonen, Senior Fellow, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs

The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) puts Iran’s nuclear program under greater scrutiny than before and reduces the likelihood of an overt dash to the bomb for the next 10 years. But the agreement contains a number of notable weaknesses—particularly regarding undeclared nuclear activity and weapons- related research—that should be mitigated by adopting stronger verification measures.

 

 

AP

November 4, 2015

"Addressing the Military Dimensions of Iran’s Nuclear Program"

Op-Ed, Institute for Science and International Security

By Olli Heinonen, Senior Fellow, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, David Albright and Andrea Stricker

While Iran continues to keep the pressure on to weaken the International Atomic Energy Agency’s (IAEA’s) effort to get to the bottom of the well-founded allegations that it had a nuclear weapons program, the Obama administration is giving the impression that it is softening its position on this critical issue. The administration should publicly state that the results of the IAEA’s investigation are critical and are linked to sanctions relief.

 

 

AP

September 21, 2015

"Beyond the Vote: Implications for Proliferation in the Middle East"

Presentation

By Olli Heinonen, Senior Fellow, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs and Robert Einhorn

Two proliferation experts discuss the risk of other regional states pursuing nuclear capabilities of their own to counter Iran, and whether they have the necessary funds, technical capability, outside help, and political will.

 

 

AP

September 22, 2015

IAEA Visit to the Parchin Site

Report

By Olli Heinonen, Senior Fellow, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs and David Albright

On September 21, 2015, IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano informed the Board of Governors that one day earlier he had visited a suspect site within the Parchin Military Complex in Iran. A few days prior to Director General Amano’s visit, as foreseen in an unofficial draft Iran/IAEA agreement, Iran, took environmental samples at the suspect location. Amano said in a public statement that access to the site was important in order to “clarify issues related to possible military dimensions to Iran’s nuclear program.” However, the manner in which environmental samples were taken raises troubling precedents for both the IAEA’s investigation into Iran’s past work on nuclear weapons and the verifiability of the long term nuclear deal, the Joint Compreheansive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

 

 

August 2015

"Inspecting Parchin and Beyond"

Op-Ed, Iran Task Force

By Olli Heinonen, Senior Fellow, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs

Inspections at Parchin are again in the limelight. Questions and concerns have been raised over whether the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) is getting the requisite physical access to the site to collect meaningful information. These questions are salient since Parchin—where the IAEA has long had questions about high-explosive work connected to the possible military dimensions (PMDs) of Iran’s nuclear program and subsequently, about the years of sanitization carried out at the base—will likely become the standard for access given to other military and suspect sites under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

 

 

(AP Photo)

August 14, 2015

"Decoding the Iran Agreement: What Constitutes Effective Verification and Monitoring"

Presentation

By Olli Heinonen, Senior Fellow, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs

On Thursday, August 6, Belfer Center Senior Fellow Olli Heinonen took part in a teleconference sponsored by the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists and the Nuclear Threat Initiative (NTI) to assess the Iran nuclear agreement.

Heinonen was joined by fellow arms control experts Joan Rohlfing and Frank von Hippel in the panel discussion titled "Decoding the Iran Agreement: What Constitutes Effective Verification and Monitoring?" The discussion was moderated by The Atlantic's James Fallows.

 
Events Calendar

We host a busy schedule of events throughout the fall, winter and spring. Past guests include: UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, former Vice President Al Gore, and former Soviet Union President Mikhail Gorbachev.