Simon Henderson is the Baker fellow and director of the Bernstein Program on Gulf and Energy Policy at The Washington Institute, specializing in energy matters and the conservative Arab states of the Persian Gulf.
Articles & Testimony
The Biden administration’s mixed messages about the significance of new enrichment revelations will make it more difficult to decide next steps.
Iran’s capacity to enrich uranium sometimes seems to be closely correlated with Washington’s ability to confuse the debate. Ten days ago it emerged that Tehran’s centrifuges were enriching to a level as high as 84 percent, very close to the 90 percent generally accepted as needed for an atomic bomb. But last Sunday, CIA Director William Burns told “Face the Nation” that while Iran may be only “a matter of weeks” from acquiring such high enriched uranium, “we don’t believe that the Supreme Leader has yet made a decision to resume the weaponization program that we judge they suspended or stopped at the end of 2003.” Then yesterday, Undersecretary of Defense for Policy Colin Kahl told a congressional committee that Iran could make enough fissile material for one nuclear bomb in “about 12 days.” So, are we being told to “sit down, calm down and get a grip” or not?...