Michael Totten

What Arabs Think of The Persian Bomb

Jeffrey Goldberg at The Atlantic recently interviewed the ambassador from the United Arab Emirates about the threat to Arabs from Iran’s nuclear weapons program.

A number of readers emailed Goldberg in surprise, but what the ambassador said isn’t new. It’s the stock response from several Sunni Arab governments, though delivered a little more desperately and without any subtlety this time. I’ve been writing about this phenomenon now for five years. I don’t have much to add at this point except that I dearly hope the Obama Administration doesn’t also find this surprising.

Here’s what the ambassador said when Goldberg asked him if the United States should use military force to stop the Iranian bomb:

Absolutely, absolutely. I think we are at risk of an Iranian nuclear program far more than you are at risk. At 7,000 miles away, and with two oceans bordering you, an Iranian nuclear threat does not threaten the continental United States. It may threaten your assets in the region, it will threaten the peace process, it will threaten balance of power, it will threaten everything else, but it will not threaten you.

I am suggesting that I think out of every country in the region, the U.A.E. is most vulnerable to Iran. Our military, who has existed for the past 40 years, wake up, dream, breathe, eat, sleep the Iranian threat. 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 U.A.E., it’s only Iran. So yes, it’s very much in our interest that Iran does not gain nuclear technology.