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Kuwait Expels Iranian Diplomats After Escape of ‘Al-Abdali Cell’ Members | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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A picture taken on June 18, 2017 shows a general view of the Palace of Justice in Kuwait City, which is home to Kuwait’s supreme court. (AFP PHOTO)

Kuwait, London- The Kuwaiti Foreign Ministry summoned on Thursday Iran’s ambassador Alireza Enayati to inform him about its decision to expel 15 Iranian diplomats and to shut down the Iranian cultural mission with other affiliated offices in the country.

The decision came after 16 terrorist suspects belonging to Al-Abdali terror cell were capable of escaping to Iran by the sea in speedboats.

Al-Abdali cell includes 26 Kuwaitis and one Iranian who were arrested over spying for the sake of Iran and Lebanon’s “Hezbollah.”

In August 2015, Kuwait said it had smashed the cell and seized arms, ammunition, and explosives from them.

On Thursday, the Kuwaiti government failed to accuse the Iranian authorities of being directly involved in the escape of the 16 suspects.

However, an official at the Kuwaiti Foreign Ministry said: “Kuwait City decided to reduce its diplomatic staff in Tehran, close down some of its technical offices and to freeze any activities involving joint committees between the two countries following the ruling by Kuwait’s top court in a case known as the Abdali cell.”

The Gulf States backed on Thursday the Kuwaiti steps.

An official source at the Saudi Foreign Ministry expressed the Kingdom’s support to all the measures taken by Kuwait against Iran’s diplomatic mission in the country.

However, Iran on Thursday responded to the Kuwaiti decision by summoning the country’s Charge d’Affaires and informed him of the Islamic Republic’s protest to the decision by Kuwait to reduce the number of Iranian diplomats in the country.

Iran also threatened it would take similar measures to protest the Kuwaiti decision.

Bahram Qassemi, the spokesman of Iran’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement Thursday: “It is very regrettable that under the existing sensitive conditions in the region, instead of trying to reduce unjustified tensions…, Kuwaiti officials have answered those incitements and made Iran the target of their fictitious accusations.”