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Saudi prince's endorsement of MEK angers Iranian officials

Prince Turki bin Faisal Al Saud’s attendance at the annual meeting of the People’s Mujahedeen of Iran has angered Iranian officials and media.
Saudi Arabia's Prince Turki al-Faisal looks on during the National Council of Resistance of Iran (CNRI) annual meeting on July 9, 2016, in Le Bourget, near Paris.
The National Council of Resistance of Iran (CNRI) drew up a statement on July 9 declaring "failure" one year after the historic Iranian nuclear program agreement, saying the country had been pushed into recession, while isolating itself from its neighbors. / AFP / ALAIN JOCARD        (Photo credit should read ALAIN JOCARD/AFP/Getty Images)
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The attendance of Prince Turki bin Faisal Al Saud at the July 9 rally backed by the Iranian opposition group People’s Mujahedeen of Iran (MEK, or Mujahedeen-e-Khalq) has angered many Iranian officials and media. The rally in Paris is typically condemned by Iran, given the group's history of carrying out attacks against the Islamic Republic. However, the attendance and speech of Faisal, who is part of the Saudi royal family and was head of Saudi intelligence for over two decades, has brought charges by Iranian officials of Saudi material support for terrorism against Iran.

The presence of Faisal “shows the longstanding link” between Saudi Arabia and the MEK, said Ramazan Sharif, the head of public relations for the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC). Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, former deputy foreign minister for Arab and African Affairs, said of Faisal’s comments' supporting the MEK in the overthrow of the Islamic Republic: “These statements confirm that Saudi Arabia’s widespread financial and security support for terrorism has always been the agenda of Riyadh.” Many Iranians have often wondered how the MEK could afford to pay exorbitant sums, ranging from $20,000 to $100,000 for a single appearance, to former US officials to speak on its behalf.

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