Kuwait, too, recalls its Iran ambassador

Gulf kingdom joins Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Sudan in breaking ties with Iran as Sunni-Shi'ite rift expands.

Gil Ronen,

Flag of Kuwait
Flag of Kuwait
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Kuwait recalled its ambassador to Iran on Tuesday, after Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Sudan did the same and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) downgraded diplomatic ties with Tehran.

The growing rift between Iran and the Sunni Arab states follows attacks mounted on Saudi missions Sunday by Iranian protesters, who are upset over the execution of a Shi'ite preacher by the Saudis.

"An official source at the Kuwaiti Foreign Ministry said that the ministry recalled the Ambassador of the State of Kuwait to the Islamic Republic of Iran on Tuesday morning Jan. 5, 2016, against the backdrop of the attacks carried out by crowds of demonstrators," Kuwaiti state news agency KUNA reported.

Bahrain cut ties with Iran on Monday and gave Iranian envoys 48 hours to leave its territory, shortly after Saudi Arabia issued a similar ultimatum. The Gulf allies accused Tehran of meddling in their affairs and giving safe haven to terrorist groups such as al-Qaeda.

Sudan also decided to expel Iran’s ambassador from Khartoum, citing concerns over Iranian interference in other countries' affairs.

The UAE on Monday downgraded Iran’s diplomatic representation and cut the number of Iranian envoys allowed on its soil.

The Arab League and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) – which includes Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar and Saudi Arabia – on Sunday expressed their support for what they said was Saudi Arabia’s fight against terrorism.

GCC Secretary General, Abdullatif al-Zayani, said that the regional bloc “stands side by side” with Riyadh, holding Iran as responsible for the current escalation.

Tehran has lashed out at Riyadh for the recent executions of 47 people, including Shi'ite preacher Nimr al-Nimr.

Saudi Arabia’s embassy in Tehran and its consulate in the city of Mashhad were attacked on Sunday by Iranian protesters, in reaction to Nimr’s death.

Saudi Arabia's mission to the United Nations defended the executions on Monday, saying all of the accused had been granted fair trials.

"The kingdom of Saudi Arabia reiterates that all convicted persons were granted fair and just trials without any consideration to their intellectual, racial or sectarian affiliation and that the final rulings against them was reached based on their own criminal and illegal actions," said a statement from the Saudi mission.


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