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UAE official backs force against Iran

Gulf state is ‘most vulnerable to Iran.’

July 7, 2010 2:17 by

A senior UAE official stationed in the US has reportedly endorsed the use of force against Iran, says the Financial Times.

The official gave the “unusually blunt comments that highlight the concerns of some of the Islamic republic’s Gulf neighbors” to The Atlantic magazine, according to the report.

Yousef al-Otaiba, the UAE’s ambassador in Washington, reportedly told the magazine that the UAE was most vulnerable to Iran. When asked if he wanted the US to use force to put a halt to Iran’s nuclear program he said, “Absolutely, absolutely.”

“Countries in the region view the Iran threat very differently, I can only speak for the UAE, 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?” he is quoted as saying.

“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?” he said.

“It’s the only conventional military threat our military plans for, trains for, equips for, that’s it, there’s no other threat, there’s no country in the region that is a threat to the UAE, it’s only Iran,” he said. “So yes, it’s very much in our interest that Iran does not gain nuclear technology.”

The paper points out that it is extremely rare for officials in the Gulf to air their concerns so publicly and the UAE has a tradition of quiet diplomacy.

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