'Kuwait orders Iran envoy to leave'

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The report added that Iran's Foreign Ministry informed the Kuwaiti envoy of the Islamic Republic's protest to the decision by Kuwait to reduce the number of Iranian diplomats in the country.

Iran's embassy staff has been reduced from 19 to four diplomats, Kuwaiti officials said.

According to Kuwaiti diplomatic sources, speaking on condition of anonymity, the number of Iranian diplomats in Kuwait will be decreased from 14 to nine, Turkey's Anadolu news agency reported.

The row comes at a time when Kuwait is trying to mediate an end to the Gulf's worst diplomatic crisis in years. Last year, when Riyadh severed ties with Tehran, Kuwait city maintained diplomatic relations with Iran but only at the level of a chargé d'affaires.

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"Following the Supreme Court ruling on the case...the government of Kuwait has made a decision to take measures, in accordance with diplomatic norms and the Vienna Convention, towards its relations with the Islamic Republic of Iran", he told AFP, declining to elaborate. State Minister for Cabinet Affairs Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah Al-Sabah, who is also acting information minister, confirmed Kuwait had taken diplomatic action against Iran. They were tried and convicted after guns and explosives were discovered in a raid.

Kuwait, with a population that is about one-third Shiite, has relatively good relations with Iran, unlike the Sunni Arab kingdoms of Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates and Bahrain.

Cell members were convicted of working for Iran's Revolutionary Guards and Lebanon's Hezbollah. The leader of the cell was handed life in prison sentence while 20 others received various prison terms.

"The government of the state of Kuwait chose to take actions in accordance with diplomatic norms and in abidance with the Vienna conventions with regards to its relationship with the Islamic Republic of Iran", acting Information Minister Sheikh Mohammad al-Mubarak al-Sabah said in a separate statement. That led to the expulsion of ambassadors by the two countries but they returned a few months later.

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