Kuwait shuts Iran cultural mission, expels diplomats

Kuwait shuts Iran cultural mission, expels diplomats: KUNA
Kuwait to shut down Iran's cultural and military mission, decrease number of diplomats

22 July, 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.

The State of Kuwait has downgraded its diplomatic representation with Iran, reducing the number of diplomats at the Iranian Embassy, ordering the closure of its technical offices, and freezing the activities of joint committees, the Kuwait News Agency (KUNA) has reported. "Iranian sides helped and supported the cell members", Kuwait's foreign ministry said in a statement.

Kuwaiti judiciary had earlier charged 25 of its Shia nationals and an Iranian with spying for Tehran and the Lebanese Hezbollah movement.

The Supreme Court last month overturned the acquittal and sentenced the men, 14 of whom are believed to have since fled, to between five and 15 years in prison. "Alireza Enayati, the Iranian ambassador to Kuwait, must leave within 45 days", the Iranian Students News Agency (ISNA) said.

He urged the regional states to maintain friendly relations with Iran because they "need it".

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Kuwait had also made a decision to freeze any activities involving joint committees between the two countries, state news agency KUNA reported, citing a foreign ministry source.

Analysts have warned the crisis could break apart the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council, whose members are Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates. They were tried and convicted after guns and explosives were discovered in a raid.

Khatami also warned Iran's neighboring states against cordial relations with the USA and emphasized that Washington would treat them in the same way it did with the executed Iraqi dictator, Saddam Hussein. The cell was convicted by a lower court early a year ago but acquitted on appeal months later and set free.

In March 2011, a Kuwaiti court condemned four people of forming a spy cell for Iran.

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