Iran criticizes Saudi prince for joining opposition rally

AP News
Posted: Jul 10, 2016 11:36 AM

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — Iran Sunday criticized the participation of a Saudi prince and former intelligence chief in an Iranian opposition rally in Paris.

The report by the state-owned IRNA news agency quotes an unnamed official as saying that Prince Turki al-Faisal's participation in the rally backed by the France-based National Council of Resistance of Iran demonstrated Saudi's "political impudence and stupidity." It also accuses Saudi Arabia of sponsoring terrorism.

In remarks aired by the Saudi-owned broadcaster Al-Arabiya, Prince Turki, the former director of Saudi intelligence, told the Paris gathering that he supported the toppling of the Iranian government.

Prince Turki currently holds no official capacity within Saudi's government, but his comments are widely seen as reflective of the government's thinking.

The National Council of Resistance of Iran is the political affiliate of the exiled Mujahedeen-e-Khalq group.

Ramazan Sharif, spokesman for Iran's elite Revolutionary Guard, said Prince Turki's participation in the rally demonstrated "longstanding ties" between Saudi Arabia and MEK. He also accused Saudi of giving "support to terrorism in the region and beyond."

The former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein welcomed the MEK into Iraq during the 1980-88 Iran-Iraq war that killed around a million people.

Predominantly Shiite Iran and Sunni Saudi Arabia have been regional rivals for decades. Tehran and Riyadh support opposite sides of the conflicts in Syria, Yemen and elsewhere.