Eli Lake reports:
The United Arab Emirates ambassador to the United States said Tuesday that the benefits of bombing Iran's nuclear program outweigh the short-term costs such an attack would impose. In unusually blunt remarks, Ambassador Yousef al-Otaiba publicly endorsed the use of the military option for countering Iran's nuclear program, if sanctions fail to stop the country's quest for nuclear weapons. "I think it's a cost-benefit analysis," Mr. al-Otaiba said. "I think despite the large amount of trade we do with Iran, which is close to $12 billion … there will be consequences, there will be a backlash and there will be problems with people protesting and rioting and very unhappy that there is an outside force attacking a Muslim country; that is going to happen no matter what." "If you are asking me, 'Am I willing to live with that versus living with a nuclear Iran?,' my answer is still the same: 'We cannot live with a nuclear Iran.' I am willing to absorb what takes place at the expense of the security of the U.A.E."
This is extraordinary candor for a diplomat. So, it's not surprising that UAE is now walking back those comments -- which were made yesterday in Aspen, Colorado:
The United Arab Emirates dismissed as "inaccurate" on Wednesday statements attributed to its ambassador in Washington backing possible military action over Iran's nuclear programme. They "were taken out of context." "The statements attributed by the Washington Times to the UAE ambassador to the United States, Youssef Al-Otaiba, are not precise," the official WAM news agency quoted deputy foreign minister Tareq al-Haidan as saying. Comments quoted in the paper on Tuesday "came as part of general discussions held on the sidelines of an unofficial gathering" in which the ambassador was speaking, Haidan said.