RIYADH, Saudi Arabia, (AP) – Saudi and Kuwaiti officials said an Iranian espionage group has been dismantled in Kuwait, the Saudi news agency reported on Thursday — the first official confirmation of the operation in the tiny Gulf nation.
Saudi Interior Minister Prince Naif bin Abdulaziz said Kuwait managed to “break down” a cell that was acting on behalf of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard.
His Kuwaiti counterpart, Sheik Jaber Al-Sabah, said the suspects are now being investigated by his country’s judiciary.
The two did not provide details of the raid in Kuwait. They spoke after a hastily assembled meeting of Gulf Arab security chiefs late Wednesday to discuss the subject.
The gathering in the kingdom and the officials’ remarks reflected Gulf concerns over Iran’s undercover affairs in the region. Tensions have also been rising between Iran and its Arab neighbors over Tehran’s growing regional influence.
Kuwaiti media first reported last Saturday that seven people were arrested in the sweep. The Al-Qabas newspaper said the cell included Kuwaitis and others, described as stateless residents in Kuwait.
The paper said police confiscated documents, advanced communication equipment and a large amount of U.S dollars in the raid. There was no information on when the arrests occurred.
Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast on Tuesday dismissed the Kuwaiti media reports as “baseless propaganda.” There was no immediate comment from Tehran on Thursday.