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Kuwait Expels Iranian Diplomats Over 'Terror' Cell
22 July 2017, 12:42 | Colleen Roy
Kuwait to shut down Iran's cultural and military mission, decrease number of diplomats
Kuwaiti officials maintained the plot was meant to destabilize Kuwait by creating dissention in Shi'ite communities within the predominantly Sunni country.
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.
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. "Alireza Enayati, the Iranian ambassador to Kuwait, must leave within 45 days", the Iranian Students News Agency (ISNA) said.
The row comes at a time when Kuwait is trying to mediate an end to the Gulf's worst diplomatic crisis in years.
The four states accuse Qatar of having close relations with Iran and supporting extremism, charges Qatar denies. State Minister for Cabinet Affairs Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah Al-Sabah, who is also acting information minister, confirmed Kuwait had taken diplomatic action against Iran.
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.
Kuwait has maintained good ties with Iran despite pressure from regional power Saudi Arabia to cut ties with Tehran.
In August 2015, Kuwait said it had busted the 26-member cell and seized arms, ammunition and explosives from them. They were also convicted of smuggling explosives from Iran.
Kuwaiti courts convicted members of the so-called "Abdali cell" of working for the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) and Lebanon's Hezbollah resistance movement.
The supreme court, whose rulings are final, overturned their acquittal on June 18 and sentenced them to between five and 15 years in prison. Around a third of Kuwait's native population of 1.35 million is Shia.
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