BREAKING: Kuwait expels Iranian diplomatsThe move could signal a move away from Kuwait's traditionally neutral position in the Qatar crisis.
20 July, 2017
Kuwaiti officials have given Iranian diplomats 24 hours to leave the country as authorities prepare to shut down the Iranian cultural mission to the country.
The stated cause from Kuwaiti authorities is the conviction of individuals that Kuwait has named as terrorists. The individuals are believed by Kuwait to be linked with the Lebanese group Hezbollah which is a traditional ally of Iran. In this sense, Kuwait appears to be holding Iran responsible.
Kuwait’s State Minister for Cabinet Affairs Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah al-Saba has said,
“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”.
As members of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), Kuwait along with Oman have attempted to use their positions as neutral parties in the Qatar crisis in order to mediate an end to the disputes which have seen Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Bahrain (all GCC members) along with Egypt cut all economic, transport and political ties with Qatar.
Today’s move could indicate that Kuwait is beginning to slide into a pro-Saudi/UAE/Bahrain position as the allegations these countries level against Qatar include anger at Doha’s warming relations with Iran.
As recently as 2014, Kuwait called its relations with Iran, “historic and excellent”, however today’s move could signal negative movement towards Tehran.
This comes the day after Saudi, UAE, Bahrain and Egypt reduced their ultimatum to Qatar from 13 demands to 6. Doha has indicated that it will continue to reject any ultimatums.