The UAE Withdraws Its Ambassador to Iran

By Jeffrey Goldberg

I've just gotten word that the United Arab Emirates, one of America's most stalwart allies in the Arab world, has withdrawn its ambassador to Tehran. The proximate cause of this dramatic move is the visit by Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to an Iranian-occupied island in the Persian Gulf that the UAE claims as its own. One official in the region just told me this: The Ahmadinejad visit might have been an attempt to "rally nationalist pride before the nuclear talks," which are to start shortly. "It could be many things," the official said. "But whatever it is, it is being interpreted in one way in the region, as a clear provocation and escalation."

This is a small reminder, of course, that the way we tend to look at the Iran crisis -- as a binary issue, a dispute between Tehran and Jerusalem -- just isn't accurate. The Arab states, with the exception (for the moment, at least) of Syria, look upon the Iranian regime with fear and loathing.

Oh, and by the way, I haven't written about the upcoming P5 + 1 talks with Iran over its nuclear program mainly because I don't think anything will come of them. Except, of course, more Iranian stalling.

This article available online at:

http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2012/04/the-uae-withdraws-its-ambassador-to-iran/255790/