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Mon 24 Jul 2017 01:09 PM

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Iran says ambassador to remain in Kuwait despite spat

Kuwait announced last week that 15 Iranian diplomats would have to leave within six weeks

Iran says ambassador to remain in Kuwait despite spat
Emir of Kuwait, Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah. (ADEM ALTAN/AFP/Getty Images - for illustrative purposes only)

Iran said Monday it was disappointed at Kuwait's decision to reduce the number of Iranian diplomats in the country, but said its ambassador would remain.Kuwait announced last week that 15 Iranian diplomats would have to leave within six weeks in response to the conviction of a "terror" cell with alleged links to the Iranian Revolutionary Guards."We did not expect this from Kuwait," foreign ministry spokesman Bahram Ghasemi said, according to the IRNA news agency."We have always maintained positive relations with Kuwait in the Gulf region. The action by the country was not nice... but we can still continue conversations and contacts," he added.Ghasemi confirmed that Iran's ambassador would remain in Kuwait, a question which had remained unclear when the move was announced on Thursday.Kuwait's supreme court last week convicted 21 people of belonging to a cell trained and formed by the Revolutionary Guards - an allegation which Iran said was "baseless".Sunni-ruled Kuwait, which has a sizeable Shiite majority, has had tense relations with Shiite-led Iran, although it has tried to act more as a mediator in regional disputes.Kuwait greatly reduced its diplomatic presence in Tehran last year after its ally Saudi Arabia completely severed relations with Iran, although it kept a charge d'affaires and two officials.

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