Iran on Sunday accused Saudi Arabia of backing terrorism after a senior Saudi prince, a former intelligence chief, addressed a Paris rally held by exiled anti-Iran terrorists and told them he wanted the Iranian government to fall.
“The Saudis are resorting to well-known terrorists … as they have also done in Iraq, Yemen and Syria. This shows that they use terrorism and terrorists to further their aims against regional Islamic countries,” an unnamed Iranian Foreign Ministry source was quoted by Iran’s state news agency IRNA as saying.
The rally addressed by Prince Turki al-Faisal on Saturday was held by the political wing of the exiled Mujahedin Khalq Organization (MKO).
Saudi media gave top coverage to the speech. The rally was also attended by a number of Western political figures, including former U.S. House of Representatives speaker Newt Gingrich.
The MKO is the most hated terrorist group among the Iranians because of its dark history of assassinations and bombings and for siding with the former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein in his eight-year war against Iran in the 1980s.
The terror group once had a presence in the United States and maintains offices in Europe. Critics have described it as a cult.
Prince Turki al-Faisal’s appearance and his nearly 30-minute address to the gathering of the MKO in Paris on Saturday goes in line with Riyadh’s long history of supporting Takfiri terrorists, Iranian officials and political observers says.
According to them, the development shows Riyadh has plans to resuscitate the moribund group and forge links between the MKO and Takfiri groups to coordinate attacks on Iran.
Faisal’s overt pronouncement of support for the terrorist group marks a turning point in Saudi Arabia’s hostility with Iran and the kingdom’s lack of concern about the sensitivities of the Iranians.
The MKO has carried out numerous terrorist attacks against Iranian civilians and government officials over the past three decades. Out of the nearly 17,000 Iranians killed in terrorist attacks since the victory of Iran’s Islamic Revolution, about 12,000 have fallen victim to MKO’s acts of terror.