losangelesnewstoday.com March 22, 2018

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

22 July 2017, 12:44 | Katrina Lee

Iran’s cultural attaché in Kuwait

Iran’s cultural attaché in Kuwait

Kuwait on Thursday closed down the Iranian cultural mission along with other affiliate offices in the Persian Gulf country and ordered Iran's Ambassador to Kuwait City, Ali Reza Enayati, and 14 other Iranian diplomats to leave the country in 45 days, the Kuwait News Agency (KUNA) reported.

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 reduction of the number of Iranian diplomats followed the decision delivered by a Kuwaiti court in the case of the so-called Al-Abdali terror cell, whose members were accused of undergoing training in Iran under the direction of Hezbollah.

Kuwait has made a decision to shut down Iran's cultural attaché office in the country and reduce the number of Iranian diplomats. ISNA also said Kuwait is allowing only four of 19 embassy staff to remain in the country.

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Sunni-ruled Kuwait, which has a sizeable Shia minority, is trying to mediate an end to the Gulf's worst crisis in years after regional powerhouse Saudi Arabia and its allies cut ties with Qatar in June.

The suspects in Abdali case were released pending trial, and they are claimed to have escaped to Iran.

Twenty-one men - all Kuwaiti nationals except one Iranian - were convicted past year on various charges of spying and planning terror attacks, but were then acquitted on appeal by a lower court and set free. State Minister for Cabinet Affairs Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah Al-Sabah, who is also acting information minister, confirmed Kuwait had taken diplomatic action against Iran.

Kuwaiti authorities busted what they said was a "terrorism" cell with ties to Iran in August 2015 and seized large quantities of arms, ammunition and explosives. The cell was convicted by a lower court early past year but acquitted on appeal months later and set free.

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