ASPEN, Colo. -- In unusually candid remarks Tuesday, United Arab Emirates Ambassador to the United States Yousef Al Otaiba publicly supported military action against Iran's nuclear program if current sanctions are not successful.
"A military attack on Iran would be a disaster," Al Otaiba said. "Iran with a nuclear weapon would be a bigger disaster."
When asked if he wanted the U.S. to stop Iranian nuclear programs by force, Al Otaiba said, "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."
Calling Iran the only country to pose a threat to the U.A.E. in the region, Al Otaiba said it is in his country's best interest that Iran does not gain nuclear technology.
"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,'" he said. "I am willing to absorb what takes place at the expense of the security of the U.A.E."
The ambassador's comments were made on a panel moderated by The Atlantic's national correspondent Jeffrey Goldberg at the Aspen Institute's Ideas Festival in Aspen, Colo. (Audio of the discussion is available here.)