UAE Ambassador on the Challenge of Iran

I know I'm not blogging today, but what follows isn't blogging, just transcription. I interviewed the ambassador to Washington from the United Arab Emirates, Yousef al-Otaiba, at a lunch program here at the Aspen Ideas Festival, and he was typically bold and straightforward on the challenges facing his country, one of America's key allies in the Arab world. I'll post more as the transcript becomes available (I'm not one of those guys who can do a public interview and take notes on it at the same time, then tweet it), but he did say the U.A.E. would sooner see military action against Iran's nuclear program than see the program succeed. Here is something crucial he said about the price of letting Iran go nuclear:

"There are many countries in the region who, if they lack the assurance the U.S. is willing to confront Iran, they will start running for cover towards Iran. Small, rich, vulnerable countries in the region do not want to be the ones who stick their finger in the big bully's eye, if nobody's  going to come to their support."

And then there is this: "Countries in the region view the Iran threat very differently, I can only speak for the U.A.E., but talk of  containment and deterrence really concerns me and makes me very nervous. Why should I be led to believe that deterrence or containment will work? Iran doesn't have a nuclear power now, but we're unable to contain them and their behavior in the region. What makes me think that once they have a nuclear program, we're going to be able to be more successful in containing them?

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And reporting from Elizabeth Weingarten:

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Jeffrey Goldberg is a national correspondent for The Atlantic and a recipient of the National Magazine Award for Reporting. He is the author of Prisoners: A Story of Friendship and Terror. More

Before joining The Atlantic in 2007, Goldberg was a Middle East correspondent, and the Washington correspondent, for The New Yorker. He was previouslly a correspondent for The New York Times Magazine and New York magazine. He has also written for the Jewish Daily Forward and was a columnist for The Jerusalem Post.

Goldberg's book Prisoners was hailed as one of the best books of 2006 by the Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, The Washington Post, Slate, The Progressive, Washingtonian magazine, and Playboy. He received the 2003 National Magazine Award for Reporting for his coverage of Islamic terrorism and the 2005 Anti-Defamation League Daniel Pearl Prize. He is also the winner of the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists prize for best international investigative journalist; the Overseas Press Club award for best human-rights reporting; and the Abraham Cahan Prize in Journalism.

In 2001, Goldberg was appointed the Syrkin Fellow in Letters of the Jerusalem Foundation, and in 2002 he became a public-policy scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, D.C.

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