Iran criticizes Saudi prince for joining opposition rally

Iran criticizes Saudi prince for joining opposition rally

Iran criticizes Saudi prince for joining opposition rally

As millions of Muslims around the world celebrate the end of Ramadan, many are struggling to come to grips with what has been a particularly bloody month of attacks that killed more than 350 people and spread terror across continents.

Iran has summoned the French ambassador and lodged a formal protest over a rally outside Paris held by an exiled opposition group last weekend, a diplomatic source said Wednesday.

The rally was held on July 9 by the National Council of Resistance of Iran, the political wing of the People's Mojahedin Organisation of Iran, sometimes known as the MEK or MKO, a group that waged an armed struggle against the Iranian government after the 1979 revolution and assassinated dozens of its top officials.

Predominantly Shiite Iran and Sunni Saudi Arabia have been regional rivals for decades.

Palestinian resistance group Hamas has condemned Saudi Arabia and Iran for accusing it of "sowing chaos" in the region and seeking to enter into negotiations with Israel.

"People like John Bolton [former United Nations ambassador] and Newt Gingrich [former Speaker of the House] have attended the meeting for years and supported the terrorists as has been their habitual policy", Zarif said.

The former Saudi spy chief attended an annual meeting of the MKO in Paris on Saturday and gave a 30-minute address to the gathering.

Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein welcomed the MEK and supported it from the 1980s until his overthrow, and the State Department listed the MEK as a terrorist group until 2012. Critics have described it as a cult.

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.

"The presence of Turki Faisal in the MKO meeting practically conveyed a message to Tehran that Riyadh will continue pursuing its hostile policies against Iran", Talal Atrissi, a Lebanese university professor and Middle East expert, told the Tasnim News Agency on Tuesday.

"I, too, want the fall of the regime", he added.

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