A Kuwaiti court has sentenced two men in their 20s to death on charges of spying for the Islamic Republic of Iran and planning terror attacks inside the country.
Only one of the two, a Kuwaiti citizen, was present at the sentencing. The other, an Iranian national, was convicted in absentia.
The two men were part of a 26-member “terrorist cell” that intended to carry out attacks in collaboration with Hezbollah, the Iran-backed terror group, Kuwaiti prosecutors said, according to the BBC.
One of the men had coordinated with an Iranian diplomat stationed at Tehran’s embassy in Kuwait City, and would later travel to Iran to link up with the Iran Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), prosecutors alleged.
They were found to have illegally possessed weapons, ammo, and espionage devices, the report said, adding that one of the alleged terror cell members was fined $16,450 for his involvement with the group.
The move comes following the sectarian debacle that has unfolded in recent days after Saudi Arabia’s execution of Shiite cleric Nimr al-Nimr. The Saudis claimed Sheikh Nimr was actively attempting to overthrow the House of Saud. Iran positioned him as a peaceful cleric who simply wanted reforms inside Riyadh.
In response to the execution, rioters in Tehran firebombed and ransacked multiple Saudi diplomatic buildings in Iran’s capital, creating an international incident.
The Sunni world has mostly lined up behind Saudi Arabia. Over a dozen countries have either condemned Iran’s actions or lessened ties with the Shiite Islamic Republic over the past couple of weeks.
Kuwait was one of the countries to lessen diplomatic ties with Iran, recalling its ambassador to Tehran last week. At the time, Kuwait denounced the attacks on the Saudi diplomatic buildings as a “flagrant breach of international conventions.” Kuwait state-media added that Iran’s ambassador was summoned so the Kuwaiti foreign minister could express his concerns.
About one-third of Kuwait’s 1.3 million citizen population is Shia Muslim.
Another Gulf neighbor, Bahrain, has accused Iran in the past week of coordinating terror plots inside their country.
Last week, state-run Bahrain News Agency reported, “A secret terrorist plot aided by the so-called Iranian Revolutionary Guard and the Hezbollah terrorist organization was foiled.”