UAE’s Otaiba lauds country’s peaceful nuclear programme

In an op-Ed in the Wall Street Journal, the ambassador said the international community should insist on the same standards from Iran

UAE Ambassador to the United States,  Yousef al Otaiba, accepts the distinguished diplomatic service award, at the World Affairs Council Global Education Gala, in Washington, DC, March 7, 2013.
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The UAE’s ambassador to the United States Yousef Al Otaiba hailed his country’s peaceful civilian nuclear programme which reached its latest milestone as fuel was loaded into the Barakah Energy Plant.

Mr Otaiba, writing in the Wall Street Journal on Wednesday, said the Emirates' nuclear deal and programme "contains the strongest commitments ever agreed to for nonproliferation and transparency and no pathway to weaponisation".

On Tuesday the UAE  finished loading fuel into Unit 1 of the Barakah Nuclear Energy Plant, promising to provide up to 25 per cent of the country’s electricity with zero carbon emissions when all the reactors are up and running.

Mr Otaiba said the roots of this progress were established in December 2009, “when the US and UAE signed the strongest bilateral civil nuclear cooperation agreement in history.

“Skeptics feared the Middle East was ill-suited for a peaceful nuclear program” he wrote, amid concern from some that the UAE could become another Iran in attempting to weaponise the program.

“Rejecting any interest in nuclear weapons, the UAE voluntarily made the strongest possible nonproliferation commitments, pledging to forgo domestic enrichment and reprocessing of nuclear material,” Mr Otaiba said.

"There was no hesitation in acceding to the International Atomic Energy Agency’s Additional Protocol, allowing for short-notice inspections of any nuclear facility at any time."

The UAE’s voluntary commitments, he argued, “significantly exceed those extracted from Iran in the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action”.

The Trump administration abandoned that deal in May, 2018.

Mr Otaiba said “Iran could send no clearer signal of peaceful intentions than signing on to the same voluntary commitments as the UAE.

"The international community should insist on this as a precondition of a renewed nuclear pact with Iran, which would create a virtuous nuclear pathway,” he added.

Both US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and US special envoy on Iran Brian Hook have cited the UAE nuclear programme as a successful model to resolve Iran’s nuclear stand-off with the West.

But this week the IAEA found that Tehran has tripled its stockpile of enriched uranium since November as it continues to violate its JCPOA commitments.