Manama: Kuwait has summoned Iran’s ambassador to the country and handed him a reply to a statement issued on Thursday by the Iranian embassy on the busting of a terror cell with links to Tehran and Lebanese militia Hezbollah.

The reply was handed over by Deputy Foreign Minister Khalid Sulaiman Al Jarallah to Ambassador Ali Reza Enayati, the foreign ministry said.

“The reply included clarifications about Kuwait’s stance on the issue,” the ministry said in a brief statement carried by Kuwait News Agency (Kuna) on Monday.

The ministry last week rejected the Iranian embassy statement following the referral of suspects to a court over their espionage links with Iran and Hezbollah, saying that it was not consistent with basic diplomatic norms.

A spokesperson said the foreign ministry regretted and rejected the embassy statement for ignoring basic diplomatic norms that require resorting to official communication channels between governments when seeking information regarding a specific issue, and not going to the public media instead.

“The statement by the Iranian embassy in Kuwait regrettably ignored the Kuwaiti government’s official stance regarding the issue at hand about which the Kuwaiti cabinet made an official statement stressing the need not to pass any judgement by anyone before the Kuwaiti court decides on the case first and foremost,” the spokesperson said.

“The decision by the public prosecutor to issue a gag order against publishing any news regarding the Abdali cell shows Kuwait’s keenness on not having the issue discussed in public at this time for fear of its negative impact on the progress of the case, thereby harming it, and at the same time to ensure total fairness,” the spokesperson said.

On September 1, Kuwait’s public prosecution said 26 defendants, including one Iranian, would stand trial for the possession of weapons, ammunition and explosives and espionage for Iran and Hezbollah.

It said that 24 defendants faced charges of engaging in acts likely to undermine the unity and safety of Kuwait and of intelligence with Iran and Lebanese group Hezbollah.

However, the Iranian embassy on September 3 downplayed the significance of the terrorist cell and the charges of espionage, saying that the case was a domestic Kuwaiti issue pertaining mainly to the discovery of weapons and ammunitions.

The embassy said it regretted the move to implicate Iran in the case and called upon the Kuwaiti authorities to communicate the identity and “alleged role” of the Iranian suspect.

The embassy blasted Kuwaiti media for its “negative incitement against the Kuwaiti-Iranian relations” and for “targeting Iran based on flimsy charges, so far unproven by the judicial authorities.”

On Saturday, Iran’s Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani dismissed the Kuwaiti charges as senseless.

“Accusing Hezbollah of being implicated in the Abdali cell does not indicate rationality or wisdom,” he said. “It stems from the hatred against the party,” he said in an interview with Al Mayadeen television.

Larijani’s remarks were rejected by the head of the Kuwaiti parliament’s interior and defence committee MP Abdullah Al Maayouf.

“Iran must tend to its own domestic affairs instead of interfering in those of others,” he said, accusing Iran of killing and torturing opposition members including politicians, chancellors, doctors and university professors who objected to forgery in the Iranian presidential elections, Kuwaiti daily Kuwait News reported on Tuesday.

Al Maayouf gave a long list of violations Iran has allegedly committed, and accused Tehran of hosting terrorists and supporting terrorist organisations and working to destabilise countries in the region.

“Reason up”, he urged the Iranian government, calling for more wisdom to achieve regional stability and peace, the daily said.

Last week, the Kuwaiti cabinet voiced “deep indignation and condemnation over the heinous acts and grave charges” revealed by the indictment of 26 people for the illegal possession of arms and contacts with Iran and Hezbollah.

“The charges involve dimensions and risks that pose a threat to the nation’s security, sovereignty and stability, as well as to its unity and territorial integrity, particularly in light of the huge amounts of explosives, arms and ammunition seized by the security bodies last month, and the way they were hidden,” Shaikh Mohammad Abdullah Al Mubarak Al Sabah, the state minister for cabinet affairs, said following the extraordinary session, quoted by Kuna.

The cabinet stressed that it would never tolerate targeting or harming Kuwaiti citizens and expatriates and that all the concerned agencies would take the necessary measures to preserve security and safety in the country.


August 13, 2015: Kuwait busts terrorist cell and uncovers a large cache of arms, ammunitions and explosives hidden underground at a farm in Abdali. The cache contains 24 hand grenades, 65 guns, 56 RPGs and 144kg of bomb-making material.

August 16: Public Prosecutor orders a media blackout “because speculative reports harm national unity and could negatively impact the investigation.”

September 1: Public Prosecutor refers 26 people, including one Iranian, to court on charges possessing weapons, ammunition and explosives and spying for Iran and Hezbollah.

September 2: Kuwait’s cabinet voices “deep indignation and condemnation over the heinous acts and grave charges” revealed by the indictment of 26 people with links to a terror cell.

September 3: Iran’s embassy in Kuwait objects to being linked to the terror cell, says the case is a domestic issue. The embassy says it wants formal communication from the authorities and blasts the local media for its “negative incitement against the Kuwaiti-Iranian relations” and for “targeting Iran based on flimsy charges, so far unproven by the judicial authorities.”

Following the embassy statement, MP Saud Al Huraiji calls for downsizing Iranian diplomats’ numbers in Kuwait, requests government to officially declare Hezbollah a terrorist group.

September 4: Kuwait’s foreign ministry rejects Iranian embassy’s statement, says it is not consistent with basic diplomatic norms.

September 5: Iran’s Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani says accusations are false, generated by hatred of Hezbollah

September 7: Kuwait summons Iranian ambassador, hands him “replies to embassy statement.”