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Kuwait expels Iranian diplomats over 'terror cell' links

Kuwait's foreign minister said his country had decided to take action against Kuwait in accordance with "diplomatic norms and in abidance with the Vienna conventions". Photograph: (AFP)

WION Web Team Kuwait Jul 20, 2017, 01.55 PM (IST)

Kuwait has 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.

Kuwait had convicted 23 men last year including one Iranian of spying for Iran. The group was known as the "Abdali cell".

"The government of the state of Kuwait decided to take actions in accordance with diplomatic norms and in abidance with the Vienna conventions with regards to its relationship with the Islamic Republic of Iran," acting Information Minister Sheikh Mohammad al-Mubarak al-Sabah said.

Reuters reported Kuwait's foreign ministry summoned Tehran’s ambassador and ordered the number of diplomats to be cut from 19 to four and the closure of the cultural and military missions.

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

Meanwhile, Iran dismissed the terror link claim as  "baseless" and threatened to hit back at Kuwait's decision to expel its diplomats.

"Iran's strong objection has been communicated to Kuwait's charge d'affaires. It was reiterated that Iran reserves the right to a reciprocal measure," said foreign ministry spokesman Bahram Ghasemi in a statement. 

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