zondag 23 juli 2017

Kuwait Expels Iran's Diplomats After 'Abdali Terror Cell' Ruling

Kuwait on Thursday expelled 15 Iranian diplomats and ordered the closure of several Iranian embassy missions. It's unclear whether Iran's ambassador, Alireza Enayati, was included in the expulsions. The expulsions will further complicate the growing Arab crisis, where Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates (UAE), Bahrain and Egypt are enforcing a land, sea and air blockade of Qatar, because of Qatar's alleged close relations with Iran. Kuwait has been trying to mediate among the parties and resolve the crisis, but that will presumably be more difficult now that Kuwait has expelled Iran's diplomats. The expulsion stems from the discovery in August, 2015, of a large cache of weapons in a farm house in the village of al-Abdali, and the arrest of the three owners of the house. The three men were accused of being members Iran's puppet terror regime Hezbollah, and of being part of what has been nicknamed the "Abdali terror cell." Al Jazeera (14-Aug-2015)
The cache of weapons was quite large, and included a total of 19,000 kg of ammunition, 144 kg of explosives, 68 weapons, and 204 grenades. The farm house is near the border with Iraq, and Kuwait said that Hezbollah and Iran's Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) smuggled the weapons across the border from Iraq to be used in terror attacks against the Sunni Muslim government of Kuwait. About 20 members of the Abdali terror cell were convicted on January 12, 2016, of working for Hezbollah and the IRGC, and of smuggling explosives from Iran. However, the an appeals court reversed the conviction later in the year. Finally, last month, on June 18, Kuwait's supreme court, whose rulings are final, reversed the appeals court decision. The cell mastermind was sentenced to life in prison, while 20 other members of the cell, all Shia Muslims, were sentenced to between 5 and 15 years in prison. AFP
# Kuwait's information minister said on Friday, "Following the supreme court ruling on the case, the government of Kuwait has decided to take measures, in accordance with diplomatic norms and the Vienna Convention, towards its relations with the Islamic Republic of Iran." 
# Iran's foreign ministry reacted angrily, saying that the accusations that it was behind a terrorist cell were baseless, and threatened revenge: "Iran’s strong objection has been communicated to Kuwait’s chargĂ© d’affaires. It was reiterated that Iran reserves the right to a reciprocal measure. It is regrettable that the Kuwaiti officials, are acting based on provocations raised by adventurist regional sides and are leveling accusations against Iran in the current sensitive conditions, instead of doing their best to reduce tensions." 
However, not all of the convicts are in custody. A Kuwaiti newspaper on Monday reported that in the hours just after the Kuwait's Supreme Court handed down its decision, 14 of the convicts fled to Iran. They used small speedboats to leave Qatar and reach international waters, where an Iranian vessel was waiting to pick them up.... Ahlul Bayt (Iran) and Gulf News