In the wake of the December 18th release of two Kuwaitis from a 36 day detention by Iranian authorities, Kuwait denied that a deal had been reached for it to release two Iranians found guilty of spying. The two detained Kuwaitis, lawyer and journalist Adel Al Yahya, and TV cameraman Raed Al Majid, first were accused of espionage and afterwards of visa violations. The dismantling of a spy network in Kuwait in 2010 led to the imposition of the death penalty for two Iranians and a life sentence for a third. The convictions are being appealed and that decision should be rendered this month. The members of the aforementioned espionage network underwent the same progression of events in Bahrain, as they experienced arrest, trial, and conviction. Said island kingdom claims Iran has sought to foment dissension among the Shia majority directed towards its Sunni rulers.

The Iranian news agency Irna’s coverage of the release of Al Yahya and Al Majid included the assertion by Iran’s deputy foreign minister for the Middle East and Africa, Hossein Amirabdollahian, that it was meant to prompt reciprocal action on the part of Kuwaiti officials. He went on to contend that there had been a pledge given by Kuwait’s government to arrange the release of Iranian detainees in the not too distant future. The apparent response of the Kuwaiti foreign ministry deputy Mohammad Al Roumi to this statement was the declaration made to the daily Al Seyassah, that there existed neither a deal between the two nations nor a connection between their respective cases.

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