Global Insider: Iran-Kuwait Relations

Kuwait and Iran recently reinstated their ambassadors to one another, after having recalled them amid accusations that Kuwait had uncovered an Iranian spy ring. In an email interview, W. Andrew Terrill, a research professor at the Strategic Studies Institute of the U.S. Army War College and the author of "Kuwaiti National Security and the U.S.-Kuwaiti Strategic Relationship After Saddam," discussed Kuwait-Iran relations.

WPR: What is the recent history of Iran-Kuwait relations?

W. Andrew Terrill: Kuwait enthusiastically backed Iraq during the second half of the 1980-1988 Iran-Iraq War, although the Kuwaiti leadership deeply regretted this decision after Saddam Hussein invaded their country in 1990. After the 1991 liberation, the Kuwaitis made a significant effort to improve their relations with Tehran in the knowledge that Iran was a natural enemy of Saddam Hussein's regime. The Kuwait found it easier to reach out to Iran after Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini's death in 1989, which led to the emergence of a more-pragmatic Iranian leadership. But Kuwaitis viewed current President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's political rise with concern due to his confrontational approach to regional politics. Kuwait and Iran have continued to disagree over the U.S. regional role in the Middle East, but both sides made an effort to maintain friendly relations.

Keep reading for free!

Get instant access to the rest of this article by submitting your email address below. You'll also get access to three articles of your choice each month and our free newsletter:

Or, Subscribe now to get full access.

Already a subscriber? Log in here .

What you’ll get with an All-Access subscription to World Politics Review:

A WPR subscription is like no other resource — it’s like having a personal curator and expert analyst of global affairs news. Subscribe now, and you’ll get:

  • Immediate and instant access to the full searchable library of tens of thousands of articles.
  • Daily articles with original analysis, written by leading topic experts, delivered to you every weekday.
  • Regular in-depth articles with deep dives into important issues and countries.
  • The Daily Review email, with our take on the day’s most important news, the latest WPR analysis, what’s on our radar, and more.
  • The Weekly Review email, with quick summaries of the week’s most important coverage, and what’s to come.
  • Completely ad-free reading.

And all of this is available to you when you subscribe today.