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EghtesadOnline: Foreign Ministry's spokesman said Iran will maintain contacts with Kuwait and its embassy in the southern Arab neighboring state will continue to work at the ambassador level, playing down the diplomatic spat over its decision to reduce the number of Iranian diplomats in Kuwait for allegedly supporting a "terrorist cell" in the monarchy.

Speaking in a regular press briefing on Monday, Bahram Qasemi also dismissed media reports that Kuwaiti officials have expelled Iranian diplomats or ordered Iran's Ambassador to Kuwait Alireza Enayati to leave the Arab country.

"They informed our ambassador in a meeting on Thursday that the number of Iran's diplomatic staff should be reduced within 45 days," ISNA quoted him as saying.

Kuwait's official news agency KUNA announced on Thursday that 15 out of 19 Iranian diplomats stationed in the country have to leave the country, Financial Tribune reported.

It said the move is related to the 2016 conviction of the members of the so-called Abdali cell broken up in 2015 that authorities allege had intelligence contacts with Iran and Hezbollah, a Lebanese resistance group.

Iran's Foreign Ministry dismissed the allegations and responded to the measure by summoning the Kuwaiti charge d'affaires.

  Unexpected Move

Qasemi said Iran has traditionally maintained positive relations with Kuwait and the Thursday announcement was unexpected.

"The action was not nice and it is blameworthy ... But I think sometimes we should understand the situation and the problems created for some countries," he said, apparently hinting at speculations that the diplomatic spat was provoked by Saudi Arabia.

Saudi Arabia, which cut ties with Tehran early 2016, said on Thursday it "fully supports" the anti-Iran measure.

The Saudi government leads an Arab push for isolating another Persian Gulf Arab state, Qatar, over its support for Muslim Brotherhood and friendly relations with Tehran.

Qasemi said Tehran reserves the right to take reciprocal measures, but it is not going to do so as only a few Kuwaiti diplomats are working in Iran and their number is not more than the Iranians allowed to stay in Kuwait.

Kuwait had reduced its diplomatic presence in Tehran concurrent with the Saudi severance of Iran relations in 2016, but it kept a charge d'affaires and two officials in Tehran.

 

Bahram Qasemi Iran embassy Iran Kuwait relationship Iran Kuwait terrorist cell