‘Kuwait orders Iran envoy to leave’

15 diplomats expelled, missions closed

Updated - July 20, 2017 10:55 pm IST

Published - July 20, 2017 10:20 pm IST - Dubai/Kuwait City

A view of the Iranian Embassy in the Kuwaiti capital. File Photo: AFP

A view of the Iranian Embassy in the Kuwaiti capital. File Photo: AFP

Kuwait ordered the Iranian ambassador on Thursday to leave the country within 48 days, Iran’s ISNA news agency reported, in an escalating row following a court case which implicated “Iranian parties” in a spy cell.

“Under the pressure of Saudi interventionist policies, and the baseless accusation of Iranian interference ... Kuwait has announced that ... Alireza Enayati, the Iranian ambassador to Kuwait, must leave within 48 days,” the Iranian Students News Agency (ISNA) said.

‘Links to terror cell’

Earlier, the Gulf state expelled Iranian diplomats and closed some embassy missions after the Emirate’s top court convicted a “terror” cell of links to the Islamic republic, the Foreign Ministry said.

The action was taken after a Supreme Court ruling last month said “Iranian sides helped and supported the cell members,” the Ministry said in a statement.

A senior government official, speaking on condition of anonymity, told AFP around 15 diplomats were ordered to leave.

Kuwait also ordered the closure of the Iranian "military, cultural and trade" missions, the official said.

Last month Kuwait's supreme court sentenced the mastermind of the cell to life in jail and condemned 20 others to various prison terms for alleged links with Iran and Lebanese Shia militia Hezbollah, and plotting terror attacks in Kuwait.

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

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