DUBAI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES, SEPT. 6 -- In a belligerent warning to the Arab states along the Persian Gulf, Iran today said Kuwait made a "grave mistake" in expelling five Iranian diplomats yesterday and would have to "face the consequences" of its alliance with Iraq and the United States.
Iranian Prime Minister Mir Hossein Mousavi issued the warning as the Kuwaiti government received a technical report from its military command on a missile that hit Kuwaiti territory Friday near an oil-refinery complex 30 miles south of Kuwait City.
The report concluded that the missile had been fired from Iran at a range of 80 to 100 miles. The Kuwaiti military said the missile had been tracked by radar stations on the Kuwaiti islands of Bubiyan and Fialaka near the Iran-Iraq war front on Faw Peninsula.
The report said the missile was of Chinese manufacture, confirming earlier reports from U.S. officials in Washington and the gulf that the missile, whose impact blew out windows in residential areas near the impact site, was most likely a surface-to-surface Silkworm. In the past week, three missiles fired from the area of Faw have landed along Kuwait's southern coast.
Iran is reported to have deployed Silkworm missiles near the vital shipping lanes through the Strait of Hormuz, at the mouth of the gulf.
Kuwait's minister of state for Cabinet affairs, Rashed Abdel Aziz Rashed, told reporters after a meeting of the Cabinet today that the missile attack represented "one of the most dangerous manifestations of escalation in the gulf region."
The missile attack on Kuwait, a new, alarming phase of the seven-year-old gulf war, drew condemnation from the governments of Qatar, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. Their statements, however, did not specifically condemn Iran.
An official statement issued in Abu Dhabi said, "The U.A.E. denounces any acts that may increase tension in the area and deplores these flagrant attacks against the sister state of Kuwait."
In a similiar statement, the Bahraini Cabinet expressed "regret and condemnation over the recent aggressions that targeted Kuwait."
But in Tehran, where the revolutionary government has denied that it fired the missiles at Kuwait last week, Mousavi blamed the United States for increasing hostilities. He excoriated Kuwait as being "too weak" to act on its own and said Kuwait's rulers obey "only that which is dictated upon it by other governments."
Mousavi did not say how Iran would respond to the expulsion of five of its seven diplomats posted to Kuwait, but he said a response would come in due course and then warned the United States to leave the gulf "rather than go any farther down in the quagmire it has created for itself in this part of the world."
In an obvious play on Arab apprehensions about the U.S. commitment to help defend the region, Mousavi said, "The Persian Gulf states are permanent neighbors which should care more about good relations with each other rather than with the United States."
He added, "However long the U.S. may linger in the gulf, it will eventually pull out of the waterway and let those states bear the consequences of their hostility with Iran."
Meanwhile, Jordan's King Hussein, who has kept close counsel with Iraqi President Saddam Hussein on the gulf war, arrived in Baghdad today for consultations in advance of a trip to the region by U.N. Secretary General Javier Perez de Cuellar.
Hussein has favored imposing an arms embargo on Iran, which the United States has proposed as the next step to enforce a July 20 U.N. Security Council resolution calling for a cease-fire by Iran and Iraq. Iran still has not accepted the cease-fire call but has promised a definitive response soon. Tehran has demanded that Iraq be declared the initial aggressor in the conflict.
Meanwhile, six U.S. mine sweepers embarked on a month-long journey to the Persian Gulf, where they will join more than 30 U.S. warships already in the region. The mine sweepers Esteem, Conquest and Enhance left Hawaii yesterday morning, and the sweepers Inflict, Fearless and Illusive left Virginia today.
Washington Post correspondent Karen DeYoung reported from London:
British Foreign Secretary Geoffrey Howe said today in a radio interview that the U.N. secretary general faces "profound and immense difficulties" on his peace mission to Tehran and Baghdad.
He said Britain wants the Iraqis "to match their words with their deeds and stop attacking ships" while Iran should accept the U.N. cease-fire resolution "without qualification." Howe added that, although an arms embargo may not be a "watertight" measure to stop the fighting, Britain is ready to support such a step.