Image Credit: Gulf News

Kuwait City: Iran’s outgoing ambassador to Kuwait has accused some of the local journalists of receiving money to attack Iran and defend Israel, Kuwaiti media reported.

“They are journalists for hire and promote Zionists,” Ali Jannati allegedly said, arguing that the Israeli government often praised them and that their views were always given prominence on the Israeli foreign ministry website, Al Aan reported on Thursday.

“Kuwait’s democracy and press freedom are not found in other countries. The existence of a free press is a highly positive thing and we benefit a lot from opinion pieces and political analyses. We also welcome criticism on domestic and international issues,” he said.

“However, there are some fabricated news about the Islamic Republic of Iran and some of the opinion pieces are by journalists paid to write against Iran. Anti-Iran news are concocted and there is no attempt to check their veracity or accuracy,” he said, quoted by Al Jareeda daily

However, no names or references were given by the ambassador at the farewell lunch he hosted for journalists in Kuwait.

The envoy said that he used to respond to “fabricated” news and opinion pieces targeting Iran, but eventually stopped. “If the embassy today wanted to react to all these false news, it would have to issue four or five statements every day,” he said.

Jannati, 61, said that he would recall his time in Kuwait with fondness. “Some Kuwaitis tell me that I am Iranian by nationality, but Kuwaiti deep inside,” he told the gathering.

He was appointed Iran’s top diplomat in Kuwait in 1992 and had his term renewed twice.

Last month, he vehemently denied any involvement of his embassy in an alleged espionage ring.

The alleged spy cell was busted by Kuwait’s security agencies amid reports that one of Jennati’s staff acted as a liaison officer between the recruited spies and Iran’s Revolution Guards.

Conservative MP Mohammad Al Hayef had called for Jennati’s expulsion and the recall of the Kuwaiti ambassador in Tehran.

The new Iranian ambassador is Mohammad Jalal Farazmand, a career diplomat who also served in Bahrain and Yemen.