Iran am­bas­sador to re­main in Kuwait as ties down­graded

MP pro­poses tough penal­ties for Hezbol­lah sup­port­ers

Kuwait Times - - FRONT PAGE - By B Iz­zak and Agen­cies

Iran said yes­ter­day it was dis­ap­pointed at Kuwait’s de­ci­sion to re­duce the num­ber of Ira­nian di­plo­mats in the coun­try, but said its am­bas­sador would re­main. Kuwait an­nounced last week that 15 Ira­nian di­plo­mats would have to leave within six weeks in re­sponse to the con­vic­tion of a “ter­ror” cell with al­leged links to the Ira­nian Revo­lu­tion­ary Guards. “We did not ex­pect this from Kuwait,” for­eign min­istry spokesman Bahram Ghasemi said, ac­cord­ing to the IRNA news agency.

“We have al­ways main­tained pos­i­tive re­la­tions with Kuwait in the... Gulf re­gion. The ac­tion by the coun­try was not nice... but we can still con­tinue con­ver­sa­tions and con­tacts,” he added. Ghasemi con­firmed that Iran’s am­bas­sador would re­main in Kuwait, a ques­tion which had re­mained un­clear when the move was an­nounced on Thurs­day. Kuwait also told Iran’s cul­tural and mil­i­tary mis­sions to shut down, fol­low­ing the court case. Iran re­sponded to the ex­pul­sions by fil­ing a com­plaint with the Kuwaiti charge d’af­faires.

Kuwait’s cas­sa­tion court last week con­victed 21 peo­ple of be­long­ing to a cell trained and formed by the Revo­lu­tion­ary Guards - an al­le­ga­tion which Iran said was “base­less”. Kuwait, which has a size­able Shi­ite ma­jor­ity, has had tense re­la­tions with Iran, al­though it has tried to act more as a me­di­a­tor in re­gional dis­putes. Kuwait greatly re­duced its diplo­matic pres­ence in Tehran last year af­ter its ally Saudi Ara­bia com­pletely

sev­ered re­la­tions with Iran, al­though it kept a charge d’af­faires and two of­fi­cials. Mean­while, Is­lamist op­po­si­tion MP Waleed Al-Tabtabaei sub­mit­ted a draft law propos­ing jail terms of up to 20 years for sup­port­ers and mem­bers of Le­banon’s Hezbol­lah group and called to de­clare the group as a ter­ror­ist or­ga­ni­za­tion. The draft law de­clares that Hezbol­lah is a ter­ror­ist or­ga­ni­za­tion. It stip­u­lates a jail term of be­tween 10 and 20 years for any Kuwaiti for join­ing or ex­press­ing any form of loy­alty with Hezbol­lah and for those who es­tab­lish any group or as­so­ci­a­tion that be­longs to or sup­ports Hezbol­lah.

It pro­poses a jail term of up to five years for those who use any logo or sym­bol of Hezbol­lah. The penalty also ap­plies to those who sup­port or pro­mote Hezbol­lah through the me­dia and so­cial net­works. The draft law also calls for ban­ning the en­try of mem­bers of Hezbol­lah into Kuwait. The leg­is­la­tion comes days af­ter Kuwait lodged an of­fi­cial protest to the Le­banese govern­ment af­ter the con­vic­tion of the 21 Kuwaiti Shi­ites of join­ing Hezbol­lah and un­der­go­ing mil­i­tary train­ing at the group’s camps in Le­banon.

Kuwait called on the Le­banese govern­ment to take all nec­es­sary mea­sures to curb Hezbol­lah’s prac­tices, since the or­ga­ni­za­tion has min­is­ters in the Le­banese cab­i­net. Tabtabaei said the draft law came fol­low­ing the cas­sa­tion court’s con­vic­tion that the ter­ror cell were mem­bers of Hezbol­lah and that they un­der­went spe­cial­ized mil­i­tary train­ing, es­pe­cially for the use of ex­plo­sives.

The court rul­ing, which was re­leased yes­ter­day, said large quan­ti­ties of arms, am­mu­ni­tion and ex­plo­sives were seized from the ter­ror cell. The weapons in­cluded hun­dreds of hand grenades and machine­guns, sev­eral tonnes of am­mu­ni­tion and a num­ber of mis­siles. The rul­ing also de­tailed how Iran and Hezbol­lah es­tab­lished the cell, pro­vid­ing them with train­ing and helped them smug­gle large quan­ti­ties of ex­plo­sives by sea from Iran.

It also said that mem­bers of the cell held meet­ings with Ira­nian in­tel­li­gence of­fi­cers, act­ing as di­plo­mats, at the Ira­nian Em­bassy in Kuwait City and with the Revo­lu­tion­ary Guard in Iran. The draft law must be ap­proved by Na­tional Assem­bly pan­els and later in the Assem­bly by vot­ing and has to be ac­cepted by the govern­ment to be­come law.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Kuwait

© PressReader. All rights reserved.