Kuwait reduces diplomatic ties with Iran

Jul 22, 2017, 00:41
Kuwait reduces diplomatic ties with Iran

Citing a Foreign Ministry source, Kuwait's official KUNA new agency reported Thursday that Kuwait City made a decision to freeze any activities involving joint committees between the two countries following the ruling by Kuwait's top court in a case known as the "Abdali cell".

The Gulf state also ordered the closure of Iranian "military, cultural and trade" missions, the unnamed official added.

The move came after Kuwait convicted a group of men, one Iranian and the rest Kuwaiti, of "spying for Iran and Lebanon's Hezbollah militant group" past year.

"It is regrettable that the Kuwaiti officials, are acting based on provocations raised by adventurist regional sides and are leveling accusations against Iran in the current sensitive conditions, instead of doing their best to reduce tensions", Qassemi stated.

Kuwait has ordered the Iranian envoy and 14 other diplomats to leave the country for their alleged links to a "spy and terror cell". The note also said that 15 Iranian diplomats would have to leave the country within 45 days, leaving only four Iranian diplomats in Kuwait.

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The row comes at a time when Kuwait is trying to mediate an end to the Gulf's worst diplomatic crisis in years.

The KUNA report further said the Iranian ambassador to Kuwait has been notified.

The suspects in Abdali case were released pending trial, and they are claimed to have escaped to Iran. They were tried and convicted after guns and explosives were discovered in a raid. Last year, when Riyadh severed ties with Tehran, Kuwait city maintained diplomatic relations with Iran but only at the level of a chargé d'affaires.

Cell members were convicted of working for Iran's Revolutionary Guards 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.

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