Experts Analyze Diplomatic Spat Between Iran, Kuwait

Experts Analyze Diplomatic Spat Between Iran, KuwaitExperts Analyze Diplomatic Spat Between Iran, Kuwait

Commenting on the latest twist in the diplomatic row in the Persian Gulf, this time between Kuwait and Iran, Iranian political analysts spoke to Sputnik, explaining who is really behind this new development and which of the two countries will suffer the most from the consequences.

On Thursday, Kuwait sent a diplomatic note to Iran's Embassy stating that the office of military and cultural attaches would be closed down. The note also said 15 Iranian diplomats would have to leave the country within 45 days, leaving only four Iranian diplomats in Kuwait City.

Kuwait's acting information minister, Sheikh Mohammad al-Mubarak al-Sabah, said in a statement that the move was taken in "accordance with diplomatic norms and in abidance with the Vienna conventions with regard to its relationship with the Islamic Republic of Iran."

According to media reports, the moves were made following the conviction of the members of Abdali "terror cell", whose Kuwaiti members were accused of alleged intelligence contacts with Iran and Hezbollah, a Lebanese Shia resistance group. Iran's Foreign Ministry responded by summoning the Kuwaiti charge d'affaires. While rejecting the accusations, Iran has said the measures taken by Kuwaiti officials are regrettable, as tensions in the region are now at a critical juncture.

  Saudi Pressure

In an interview with Sputnik, Sabah Zanganeh, Iran's envoy to the Organization of Islamic Cooperation and former adviser to the Iranian foreign minister, said the moves of Kuwaiti authorities have been evidently fueled by pressure from Saudi Arabia.

The Iranian authorities have not been informed of any details of the ongoing investigation in Kuwait and any charges made in this regard. Neither the Iranian legal representative, nor any independent Iranian experts have been allowed to study the case.

"This demarche of Kuwait is baseless and fueled purely by the pressure of Saudi Arabia, which does not want to tolerate that the Arab states of the Persian Gulf, such as Kuwait and Qatar, have good relations with Iran. Saudi Arabia is exerting strong pressure on Kuwaiti authorities and its mass media," he said.

The official explained that until recently, Kuwait has been pursuing a very reasonable and moderate foreign policy, but it has come under strong pressure from the Saudis. He said Qatar was the first target of the Saudis and now it is Kuwait's turn.

"The Saudis cannot tolerate Kuwait's key position in the settlement of the Qatari crisis, in the negotiations of the Yemeni issue and in the issue of diplomatic correspondence with Iran on behalf of the [Persian] Gulf Cooperation Council. Kuwait, unlike Qatar, is to a far lesser extent an independent state," he said.

  Kuwait Stands to Lose

In a separate commentary on the issue, Hassan Hanizadeh, an Iranian political analyst and expert on Middle East and Iranian-Arab relations, told Sputnik that Kuwait will suffer from this move, while it will have no impact on the economic environment of Iran.

"These actions of Kuwait, aimed at decreasing diplomatic relationship with Iran, have been evidently dictated by Saudi Arabia and the US. As we remember, during his trip to the Middle East, [US President] Donald Trump had an important meeting with the leaders of six Arab states of the Persian Gulf in Riyadh. Trump demanded that these states cut their diplomatic relations with Iran or at least lower the level of their ties. Qatar is the first to be punished for disobeying this order," he said.

However, Hanizadeh elaborated, Qatar held firm and defied pressure from Saudi Arabia and the US.

"Kuwait, in turn, is a sparsely populated country, compared to its neighbors and prefers not to oppose the pressure of the US and the Saudis. The danger is that this demarche could further spark tensions in the region between the Arab states and Iran," he said.

For the past 30 years, Iran has been maintaining good and friendly relations with Kuwait, avoiding any hostilities. In 1990, during the attack of former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein on Kuwait, the Iranian Embassy in Kuwait sheltered over a hundred women, including the wives and daughters of Kuwaiti emir, and his brothers, from Iraqi troops and safely sent them to Iran for temporary relocation. Unfortunately, the current Kuwaiti authorities have forgotten this and are making baseless accusations against Iran under pressure from Saudi Arabia, the political analyst said.

"Kuwait will be the only one to suffer from this move. Iran is a large and strong country, which will easily overcome this crisis. Kuwait is not a high priority in the Iranian foreign policy and the lowering of the level of diplomatic relations between the two countries won't have any impact on Iran," Hanizadeh said.


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