Kuwait unveils 8 spy cells employed by Iran: report

Including Lebanese, Syrians & stateless residents


One of the recently discovered Iranian spy cells in Kuwait belongs to a group of eight spy cells operating in the country; two of which are armed and their members have been trained on bombings, the Kuwait al-Qabas daily quoted a top official as saying on Friday.

The official warned that the Iranian Revolutionary Guards had employed a number of Lebanese and Syrian citizens in those spy cells, as well as a number of stateless residents in the country.

The source said they were accused of gathering information on Kuwaiti and U.S. military sites for Iran's Revolutionary Guards.

Kuwait announced Thursday it is to expel a number of Iranian diplomats for alleged spying that dates back to the 2003 invasion of Iraq, in a fresh blow for Arab-Persian ties across the Gulf.

Kuwait's foreign minister said his government had withdrawn its ambassador from Tehran, but Iran denied interfering in Kuwait's internal affairs.

Sheikh Mohammed al-Salem al-Sabah accused Iran's elite Revolutionary Guards of being behind a spy cell in Kuwait, whose relations with Iran have deteriorated over the past year.

"The government will take the required actions towards the (three) diplomats and they should be kicked out," the foreign minister told reporters at the Kuwaiti parliament. He gave no time frame for any expulsion.

Earlier this week, a Kuwaiti court sentenced three men -- two Iranians and a Kuwaiti -- to death for being part of an alleged Iranian spy ring in a case that has strained relations between Kuwait and Tehran.

"Kuwait only expresses its goodwill towards ... its neighbor Iran, but in return we see that the Revolutionary Guards planted this cell to target the security of Kuwait," Sheikh Mohammed said.

Gulf Arab countries are concerned over what they see as the ambition of Iran, a non-Arab Shiite Muslim power, to extend its influence in Arab countries mostly under Sunni rule.