Yousef Al-Otaiba, the U.A.E. ambassador to the United States, said Tuesday that the risks of a nuclear Iran outweigh the short term flair-up that bombing the country would cause.
“It’s a cost-benefit analysis,” he said. “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.” He remained deliberately vague as to whether this “outside force” meant Israel or the U.S.
If Israel, it marks a significant turnaround from several months ago when Abu Dhabi forbade entrance to any Israeli citizen into its territory due to the Al-Mabhouh assassination purported to have been carried out by the Mossad.
The U.A.E., a big oil exporter, is afraid that a nuclear-armed Iran would have it in its sites in order to control the Muslim world through the OPEC states. This latest call follows a reported U.A.E. move to ban the refueling of Iranian planes in its territory. Iran, meanwhile, has vowed revenge against any country that denies fuel to its carriers by doing the same thing to them at its airports.
Under new sanctions, Iranian ships will be searched by UN allied forces to ensure that it is not importing any heavy weapons or materials banned by the Security Council. Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guard warned that it will retaliate if any Iranian ships are searched.
“We reserve the right to retaliate,” Ahmadinejad said. “We were not interested in getting to this stage. But if some insist, experience has shown that we can defend our rights. They will strongly regret any action they take.”
Ahmadinejad also scoffed at assertions Sunday from the CIA that Iran currently has enough fissile material to construct at least two nuclear weapons. He mocked the U.S. for having such a large nuclear stockpile and noted that stockpiling nuclear weapons was “politically moronic.”
“A country that cannot cap an oil well, how can they stockpile thousands of atomic bombs inside the U.S. and other countries?” he retorted.
BP did not issue an official response to the Iranian figurehead.