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Thursday, May 06, 2010

Kuwait censoring news stories on Iranian spies

From the LA Times Babylon & Beyond blog:
A report by the Kuwaiti Al-Qabas newspaper last weekend claiming that the country's security services had dismantled a spy cell allegedly working for Iran's Revolutionary Guard has sparked a ruckus in the Kuwaiti parliament, raised diplomatic tensions and triggered rampant speculation in the Persian Gulf media.

Now, in an attempt to calm the situation, Kuwait has banned any more media reporting on the alleged spy cell.

On Thursday, the Kuwaiti English-language newspaper Kuwait Times reported that Public Attorney Hamed Al-Othman had issued a decision forbidding any more publication of news on the issue.

The report, which has not been verified by officials, has created multiple political headaches for the Kuwaiti government. Several Kuwaiti lawmakers, including Mohammad Hayef, a hard-line Islamist, called for the expulsion of the Iranian ambassador and pressed the government to speak out on the spy allegations.

Predictably, Iranians were outraged. The Iranian Embassy in Kuwait strongly denied the media report, and a high-ranking official dismissed the allegations as a "Zionist plot" to tarnish the image of the Revolutionary Guard.

"The claim about identification and discovery of a spy web in Kuwait is in line with the [enemy] project to spread IRGC-phobia in the region," the Revolutionary Guard's public relations head, Gen. Ramezan Sharif, told the semi-official Iranian news agency Fars.

I guess IRGC-phobia is a specialized case of Iranophobia.