Top U.A.E. Diplomat Endorses Striking Iran Nuclear Sites

'It's a cost-benefit analysis: There will be economic consequences, as well as protesting and rioting, but we cannot live with a nuclear Iran.'

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The United Arab Emirates ambassador to the United States, Yousef Al-Otaiba, said Tuesday that the benefits of bombing Iran's nuclear sites eclipse the short-term costs such an attack would entail, the Washington Times reported.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in Istanbul, on June 8, 2010Credit: Reuters

"It's a cost-benefit analysis," Al-Otaiba said during an interview with The Atlantic correspondent Jeffrey Goldberg at the Aspen Ideas Festival. "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."

"We cannot live with a nuclear Iran," he concluded.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said in June that Iran would not hold talks with the West over its nuclear program until late August to punish world powers for imposing tougher sanctions against the country. He added that those countries interested in resuming talks must first make clear whether they oppose Israel's purported atomic arsenal.

Ahmadinejad vowed that Iran will retaliate should its ships be searched over suspicions that the cargo may violate the new sanctions approved by the UN Security Council earlier this month.

Technicians measuring parts of Iran's Bushehr nuclear power plant in this undated photo.Credit: AP

The European Union and U.S. Congress followed with new punishing measures of their own to discourage the Iranian government from continuing its uranium enrichment program, which they fear could be used to produce a nuclear weapon.

Iran insists its program is for peaceful purposes.

Ahmadinejad accused the world powers of approving the latest sanctions to give them the upper hand in talks over the issue.

"We call this bad behavior," he said, adding talks on the issue would be postponed until the end of the Iranian month of Mordad, which would be about Aug. 20. "This is a fine to punish them a bit so that they learn the custom of dialogue with our nation."

The Iranian leader also set two additional conditions for an eventual resumption of talks, saying countries who want to participate should make clear whether they support the Nonproliferation Treaty and whether they want to be friends or enemies with Iran.

"However," he said, "participation in the talks was not contingent on the answers."

The U.S. and its allies accuse Iran of seeking to use its civilian nuclear program as a cover to develop atomic weapons. Iran has denied the charge.

The new UN sanctions call for an asset freeze of another 40 additional companies and organizations, including 15 linked to Iran's powerful Revolutionary Guard and 22 involved in nuclear or ballistic missile activities. The resolution also bans Iran from pursuing any activity related to ballistic missiles capable of delivering nuclear weapons.

It also bars Iranian investment in activities such as uranium mining, and prohibits Iran from buying several categories of heavy weapons, including attack helicopters and missiles.
The sanctions, the fourth imposed by the UN, came after last year's push to get Iran to accept a UN-drafted plan to swap its low-enriched uranium for higher-enriched uranium in the form of fuel rods, which Tehran needs for a medical research reactor.

At the time, the swap would have significantly reduced Iran's low-enriched uranium stockpile and delayed any weapons-making capabilities.

Instead, Iran opted for an alternative plan backed by Turkey and Brazil that included the uranium-for-rods exchange but didn't mandate a halt on Iran's enrichment process and fell short of UN demands.

Iran's elite Revolutionary Guard, the country's most powerful military force, has warned that it will retaliate should Iranian ships be searched.

Ahmadinejad reiterated that warning.

"We reserve the right to retaliate," Ahmadinejad said. "We were not interested in getting to this stage. But if some insist [on going in this direction], experience has shown that we can defend our rights. They will strongly regret any action they may take."

Ahmadinejad also scoffed at assertions Sunday from U.S. intelligence chief Leon Panetta that Iran had enough material to make two nuclear bombs.

He said stockpiling nuclear weapons is politically retarded and warned over possible accidents with the U.S.'s own vast nuclear stockpile.

"A country that cannot cap an oil well, how can they stockpile thousands of atomic bombs inside the U.S. and other countries?" he asked, referring to the oil gushing into the Gulf of Mexico.

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