Iran's ambassador to Kuwait has defended the decision to hold a reception to mark his country's Army Day at a local hotel as a "normal event."
"There is nothing odd about the embassy holding a celebration outside its premises," Rouhollah Kahramani said. "This is not the first time and the reception was in accordance with the Kuwaiti laws and was not meant as a provocation. The Kuwaiti diplomatic mission in Tehran hosts its celebrations outside the embassy as well," he said, quoted by Kuwaiti media on Thursday.
The embassy hosted the event on Wednesday evening at a hotel in Kuwait City.
Kuwaiti lawmakers had opposed holding the celebration outside the embassy, arguing that having it at an hotel was a provocation to the feelings of Kuwaitis and Gulf nationals.
According to MPs Musallam Al Barrak and Waleed Al Tabtabai, marking the Iranian Army Day outside the Iranian diplomatic mission buildings clashed with the sovereignty of Kuwait.
MP Munawer Al Azemi said that the celebration was a provocation to Gulf nationals, particularly from the UAE "since the Iranian army is still occupying three UAE islands."
Tensions are high in the region after Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad made a visit to the disputed island of Abu Mousa on April 11.
The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) condemned the visit as "an irresponsible provocation and not in line with the GCC policy of maintaining good neighbourly relations with Iran.
The GCC urged Tehran to refrain from interfering in the affairs of the GCC and to engage in direct talks with the UAE over the islands of Abu Mousa, Lesser Tunb and Greater Tunb that Iran has occupied since 1971 or to take the matter to the International Court of Justice in The Hague.