UAE Ambassador on the Challenge of Iran

By Jeffrey Goldberg

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?

See also:


UAE's Ambassador Endorses an American Strike on Iran (Cont'd)
Why the UAE's Position on Iran Is Not Particularly New

And reporting from Elizabeth Weingarten:

What Does the UAE Think About Iran and Israel?

This article available online at:

http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2010/07/uae-ambassador-on-the-challenge-of-iran/59252/