Kuwait Hopes for Normal Iran-Arab Ties

Kuwait Hopes for Normal Iran-Arab TiesKuwait Hopes for Normal Iran-Arab Ties

Kuwait's deputy foreign minister says he hopes that relations between Iran and Persian Gulf Arab states, strained since early this year, would normalize and the Arab countries would reinstate their envoys to Tehran.

"We look forward to the day when ambassadors of the [Persian] Gulf Cooperation Council countries return to Tehran," Kuwaiti media quoted Khaled Jarallah as telling reporters on Tuesday.

He was commenting on recent remarks by Iranian envoy to Kuwait Alireza Enayati who had said Tehran wants to mend the strained ties with regional countries.

Tensions in relations between Iran and Saudi Arabia escalated after protestors outraged by Riyadh's execution of prominent Shia cleric Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr stormed the Saudi missions in Tehran and Mashhad in January. The move prompted the oil kingdom to cut diplomatic relations with the Islamic Republic.

Saudi allies, including Bahrain, Sudan and Djibouti, followed suit, while Kuwait, Qatar and Jordan recalled their envoys to Tehran and the UAE partially downgraded ties. Tehran says Saudi Arabia has used the attack on its diplomatic posts as an "excuse" to sever ties and further increase sectarian tensions in the already tumultuous region.

Asked about a repatriation treaty of Iranian prisoners in Kuwait, Jarallah said, "The process is going smoothly and it will soon be completed."

Based on the judicial agreement between the two sides, 47 prisoners returned home late last month to serve the rest of their sentences in Iran, the largest single transfer of convicts to Iran after the 1979 Islamic Revolution.