Kuwait recalls Tehran ambassador after spy ring trial

Will expel any Iranian diplomat with proved links to spy ring

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Kuwait has recalled its ambassador from Tehran a day after a court condemned to death three people it convicted of spying for Iran, Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammad Al-Sabah was quoted as saying Wednesday.

In the remarks published by al-Watan newspaper on its website, the minister said that the oil-rich emirate would expel any Iranian diplomat proved to have links with the spy ring.

Kuwait's criminal court condemned to death two Iranians and a Kuwaiti on Tuesday for passing key military information to Iran's elite Revolutionary Guards.

A Syrian and a stateless Arab were handed life terms in the espionage trial, while an Iranian man and the only woman defendant -- daughter of one of the two Iranians on death row -- were acquitted.

The three men condemned to death and the Syrian all were serving in the Kuwaiti army at the time of their arrest in May 2010, while the stateless Arab was an ex-soldier.

The defendants were accused of spying for Iran and of passing information about Kuwaiti and U.S. troop deployments in the Gulf emirate to the Revolutionary Guards, an accusation denied by Iran.

Tehran denied the allegations last year. The two sides have improved ties which soured during the 1980-88 Iran-Iraq war because of Kuwait's financial backing for Baghdad's war effort.

OPEC-member Kuwait hosts Camp Arifjan, a vast U.S. logistics base in the desert south of the capital which serves as a staging ground for U.S. forces deploying in Iraq.

The United States has myriad air and naval installations in Gulf Arab states, some of which are little more than 200 km (124 miles) from Iran's coast. The U.S. Central Command keeps its forward headquarters in Qatar and Bahrain hosts the U.S. Navy's Fifth Fleet.