Iranian ambassador and 14 other diplomats ordered to leave Kuwait over spy case

Vastavam web: Kuwait ordered the expulsion of the Iranian ambassador and 14 other diplomats for alleged links to a “spy and terror” cell, Iranian and Kuwaiti media reported on Thursday.Kuwait also instructed Iran’s cultural and military missions to be shut down following a court case which increased tensions between the two countries.”Under the pressure of Saudi interventionist policies, and the baseless accusation of Iranian interference … (Kuwait said) Alireza Enayati, the Iranian ambassador, must leave,” ISNA said.

There was some confusion about the deadline given to the diplomats to the leave the country, with some sources saying 45 days while others reporting 48 days.Last year Kuwait convicted 23 men – one Iranian and the rest Kuwaiti – of spying for Iran and Lebanese Shi’ite Muslim group Hezbollah after a cache of guns and explosives were discovered in a raid of the so-called “Abdali cell” in 2015, which escalated sectarian tensions.One person was sentenced to death while the rest were given prison sentences. Last month, Kuwait’s highest court overturned the death sentence, reduced some of the other prison terms while increasing others.

Kuwait, which has a large Shi’ite Muslim minority, sits in a difficult geographical position close to two major regional powers and arch foes — mainly Shi’ite Iran and Sunni-ruled Saudi Arabia.Apart from the diplomatic row with Iran, Kuwait has also been trying to mediate in the crisis involving Qatar.