Kuwait Delays Appeal in Iranian Espionage Case

A Kuwaiti appeals court has delayed the appeal of convicted Iranian spies until March.

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Gabe Kahn.,

Kuwait City
Kuwait City
CC/Mohammad Alatar

An appeals court in Kuwait on Monday postponed the trial of an alleged pro-Iran espionage ring to March 5.

The seven defendants were charged with spying for Iran and of passing information on the Kuwaiti and US military in Kuwait to Iran's Revolutionary Guards.

The criminal court on March 29, 2011, sentenced two Iranians and a Kuwaiti national to death. A Syrian and a stateless Arab were given life in prison.

The court in Kuwait City acquitted the only woman, the daughter of one of the men on death row, and another Iranian suspect.

The ring was also said to have operated in tandem with a cell in Bahrain, where the U.S. Fifth Fleet is based.

The case comes amid growing tensions between Shiite Persian Iran and the Sunni monarchies of the Persian Gulf region who accuse Tehran of inciting their Shiite populations to rebellion amid the so-called Arab Spring.

In response to a perception of growing Iranian aggression the six members of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) - Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE - have pledged to create a unified diplomatic and military union.

They have also moved to expand their ranks with Egypt, Jordan, and Morocco being key potential candidates.

Kuwait also recently agreed to host a NATO headquarters that would serve to coordinate security efforts between the West-leaning GCC and trans-Atlantic alliance.

Tehran denied the charges and said there was nothing to spy on in Kuwait.

Around 45,000 Iranians live in Kuwait, which is currently in the middle of a row over oil rights with Tehran.