Kuwait asks Iran to reduce diplomats in embassy

"The government of the state of Kuwait made a decision 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", following the court ruling, acting Information Minister Sheikh Mohammad al-Mubarak al-Sabah said.

The Iranian diplomats will be granted 45 days to leave Kuwait, according to the report.

Iranian official source, ISNA news agency, reported that Ambassador Alireza Enayati has been asked to leave.

"Under the pressure of Saudi interventionist policies, and the baseless accusation of Iranian interference..."

The men were initially convicted by a lower court, but were later acquitted on appeals several months later and set free. Iranian "military, cultural and trade" missions were also closed and joint cooperation committees between the two countries suspended.

The four states accuse Qatar of having close relations with Iran and supporting extremism, charges Qatar denies.

Foreign Ministry Spokesman Bahram Qassemi announced on Thursday that Kuwaiti envoy Fallah Al-Hajraf has been summoned to the foreign ministry earlier in the day over the groundless accusations raised by the Persian Gulf state's officials against Iran on a case known as the "Abdali cell". Kuwait's interior ministry also confirmed that the 14 men were on the run.

Kuwaiti authorities busted what they said was a "terrorism" cell with ties to Iran in August 2015 and seized large quantities of arms, ammunition and explosives.

Kuwait has no ambassador to Tehran since January 2016 after it followed suit other fellow Arab countries which downgraded diplomatic relations with Tehran following the storming of Saudi Arabia's diplomatic posts in Tehran and Mashhad. The cell was convicted by a lower court early previous year but acquitted on appeal months later and set free.

  • Joey Payne