Kuwait Cuts Number of Iranian Diplomats in Country from 19 to 4

Laura Christensen
July 22, 2017

Foreign Ministry Spokesman Bahram Qassemi said dismessed Kuwaiti officials' accusations as "baseless and false", adding that Iran has given a note of protest to the Kuwaiti charge d'affairs.

Iran's foreign ministry has summoned Kuwait's charge d'affaires after the Gulf state closed the Iranian cultural, military and trade offices and ordered the number of Iranian diplomats there to be cut amid a spying row, the semi-official news agency Fars reported on Thursday. "Iranian sides helped and supported the cell members", Kuwait's foreign ministry said in a statement.

Last month, the Kuwait's supreme court sentenced the suspected leader of the cell to life in jail and condemned 20 others to various prison terms.

A Kuwaiti supreme court ruling last month convicted 21 people of belonging to a cell that had been formed and trained by Iran's Revolutionary Guards. "Alireza Enayati, the Iranian ambassador to Kuwait, must leave within 48 days", the Iranian Students News Agency (ISNA) said.

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Tehran's alleged ties with a "terrorist group" plotting attacks against the Persian Gulf state, Arab media outlets reported.

The official offered no further details and Iran has denied any involvement in the cell or the case. Kuwait's interior ministry also confirmed that the 14 men were on the run.

Kuwait has reportedly told the Iranian Embassy to reduce its diplomatic staff in the Persian Gulf state and close down some of its technical offices following a court ruling a year ago that implicated some Iranians in a spying case. There, security forces found weapons and explosives, believed to belong to infiltrators from Iran and Lebanon's Hezbollah.

Kuwait, with a population that is about one-third Shiite, has relatively good relations with Iran, unlike the Sunni Arab kingdoms of Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates and Bahrain. They were also convicted of smuggling explosives from Iran. Around a third of Kuwait's native population of 1.35 million is Shia.

Other reports by My Hot News

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