DE RUEHAD #0736/01 2011251
ZNY SSSSS ZZH
O 201251Z JUL 09
FM AMEMBASSY ABU DHABI
TO RUEATRS/DEPT OF TREASURY WASHINGTON DC IMMEDIATE
INFO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 2741
RUEHZM/GULF COOPERATION COUNCIL COLLECTIVE
S E C R E T ABU DHABI 000736
STATE FOR NEA/FO AND NEA/ARP
E.O. 12958: DECL: 07/19/2019
TAGS: PREL EFIN ECON IR AE
Classified by Ambassador Richard Olson, reasons 1.4 (b, d).
¶1. (U) This cable contains an action request in para 12.
¶2. (S/NF) Summary. On July 15, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner
joined Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed al Nahyan
(MBZ) and Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed al Nahyan (ABZ)
for a dinner covering a range of regional issues. MBZ expressed
serious concern over Iran's regional intentions and pleaded for the
U.S. to shorten its decision-making timeline and develop a "plan B."
He encouraged the U.S. to clearly communicate 'red lines' to the
Iranian Government, on nuclear and regional stability issues, with
direct consequences for transgressions. He painted to a nuclear Iran
as an existential threat to the UAE and invoked the well being of his
grandchildren while urging the U.S. to act quickly. MBZ asked for
close coordination between the U.S. and UAE to deal with the Iranian
threat. End Summary.
¶3. (S/NF) Secretary Geithner asked the Crown Prince for his views on
the situation in the region, particularly in Iran. Geithner
described the U.S. strategy on Iran, including our intention to move
forward with multilateral financial sanctions while waiting for Iran
to decide on its engagement with the U.S. He also conveyed
appreciation for the important support that UAE provides to other
regional trouble spots.
¶4. (S/NF) MBZ described a nuclear armed Iran as absolutely untenable.
He pointed to Iran's relentless ambitions to restore regional
hegemony as evidenced by destabilizing interference in Iraq, Lebanon,
Afghanistan and Palestine. He believes that 'all hell will break
loose' if Iran attains the bomb, with Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Syria and
Turkey developing their own nuclear weapons capability and Iran
instigating Sunni - Shia conflict throughout the world. He said Iran
is surrounding Israel - driven by ideological conviction - and will
threaten Israel's existence should it go nuclear. At the same time,
he described Iran's ambitions as reflecting a desire to restore
Persia's great-power status, rather than driven by religious
¶5. (S/NF) MBZ differentiated the long term threat posed by Iran from
other menacing states like North Korea or Syria. Where these other
regimes were ruled by small cadres of corrupt 'old guard' officials,
the Iranian regime has raised its next generation to carry out its
designs for hegemony. As such, the world will be dealing with Iran's
destabilizing ambitions for decades. MBZ assesses that the Iranian
regime has emerged from the recent election strife stronger and more
¶6. (S/NF) While careful not to suQY.JQoWoRth Iran,
MBZ described a near term conventional war with Iran as clearly
preferable to the long term consequences of a nuclear armed Iran.
Without timely and decisive action by the United States, MBZ believes
that Israel will strike Iran, causing Iran to launch missile attacks
- including hits on the UAE - and to unleash terror attacks
worldwide. In his view, 'the map of the Middle East' would change.
He expects widespread civilian conflict to erupt as Iran sparks Sunni
- Shia violence worldwide (including the Eastern Province of Saudi
Arabia which he sees as the greatest vulnerability, along with Iraq,
in the Arab world). He speculated that such an event could unfold
within six months time and resolved that the UAE is prepared to
defend itself. He believes that an Israeli strike will not be
successful in stopping Iran's nuclear program, and therefore we need
¶7. (S/NF) Regarding the recent election in Iran, MBZ cautioned that
Mir Hossein Musavi is no different than Ahmedinejad when it comes to
their nuclear ambitions, 'same goal, different tactic.' In this
respect, he regards Musavi as more dangerous than his competitor, as
at least Ahmedinejad was 'an open book.' He reminded Secretary
Geithner that Musavi and his advisors are part of the same group that
took the U.S. Embassy in 1979.
¶8. (S/NF) MBZ questioned Europe's basic understanding of the threat
posed by Iran, and wrote off their resolve to deal with the
situation. He was appalled by 'top European diplomats' that were
unconcerned by the possibility of Iran acquiring a nuclear weapon. He
shared his theory that Russia was trying to instigate conflict
between the U.S. and Iran as a means to weaken the U.S. and drive up
oil prices. He suggested we could use Russia's narrow views to help
persuade Russia to join international actions against Iran.
¶9. (S/NF) MBZ stated that financial sanctions would never be
sufficient to stop Iran, but allowed that the U.S. should continue
with such measures to demonstrate to the Arab world that we tried
everything. He pledged continued cooperation and support for
international sanctions and encouraged further action in the UN and
EU, as well as the U.S.
¶10. (S/NF) MBZ suggested that the key to containing Iran revolves
around progress in the Israel/Palestine issue. He argued that it
will be essential to bring Arab public opinion on board in any
conflict with Iran and roughly 80% of the public is amenable to
persuasion. To win them over, the U.S. should quickly bring about a
two state solution over the objections of the Netanyahu government.
He suggested working with moderate Palestinians that support the road
map, and forget about the others as there is no time to waste.
¶11. (S/NF) Foreign Minister ABZ urged the U.S. to make better use of
its allies in the region and engage Russia and China in a productive
way on this issue wherever possible. He urged clear and forceful
messaging to Iran and more regional gatherings (i.e. P+5+1 and GCC+3)
to increase pressure and isolation.
¶12. (S/NF) ACTION REQUEST: MBZ would like to visit Washington in late
July to discuss Iran with President Obama and other senior officials.
Treasury and Embassy recommend continuing the dialogue with MBZ as
soon as possible.
¶13. (SBU) This cable has been cleared by Andy Baukol, Department of
Treasury Acting Assistant Secretary for International Affairs.