Screenshot of Prince Turki Al-Faisal former Saudi intelligence director speaking at the annual gathering of MEK in Paris.
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region—Prince Turki Al-Faisal, former Saudi Arabian intelligence chief joined a gathering of Iranian opposition group Mujahedin-e-Khalq (MEK) in Paris on Saturday where he said that “people want to topple [Iran] regime” and “I, too want the downfall of the regime”, according to al-Arabiya news.
The Saudi prince attended a summit of the MEK titled Free Iran, a year after Tehran’s nuclear deal with the western powers in Vienna.
“Iranian people were the first victim of [founder of Islamic Republic of Iran Grand Ayatollah Sayyid Ruhollah Khomeini]” said Prince Al Faisal, chairman of the King Faisal Centre for Research and Islamic Studies.
The former Saudi intelligence chief told his Iranian audience that the Arab world will stand with them forever: “Arabs will always be respectful to Persians,”
MEK is an armed Iranian opposition group whose leadership is based in France. The group still maintains a base in Iraq which has been the target of bombings by armed groups and raids by Iraqi security forces in the past.
In his address Prince Al Faisal accused Tehran of meddling in the domestic affairs of regional countries in the name of helping people.
“Iran is violating the sovereignty of countries in the region under the pretext of supporting the people in Iraq, Syria, Yemen and Lebanon and supports armed sectarian groups,” Al-Faisal said, according to al-Arabiya. “Iran’s main goal by doing so is to create chaos in the region.”
Iran’s foreign ministry was quick to respond to Al Faisal’s comments and accuse Riyadh of supporting terrorism.
"We shouldn’t doubt in the extensive relations between the Saudi intelligence body and Monafeqin (Hypocrites as the MKO members are called in Iran), specially in recent years," said Amir Abdollahian, an advisor to Iran’s foreign minister, according to Fars News.
He added, "Such comments confirm that extensive financial and security supports for terrorism have always been on Riyadh's agenda."
Abdollahian retorted that Saudi Arabia destabilized the region by exporting its domestic problems.
He said, "They cannot make the regional countries insecure by using the terrorists instrumentally and then keep Saudi Arabia secure."
"Saudi Arabia should change its military and security approach in the region and play a constructive role by focusing on the political solutions and halting explicit and implicit support for terrorism," he added.