July 15, 2016
Iran has summoned Egypt’s top envoy in Tehran to “strongly protest” against the attendance of Egyptian lawmakers at an annual rally of an exiled opposition group, state media said.
An Iranian foreign ministry official called the presence of “a number of Egyptian MPs” at the National Council of Resistance in Iran (NCRI) gathering in France on Saturday “a clear interference in our domestic affairs”.
The National Council of Resistance in Iran (NCRI), which includes rebel group People’s Mujahedeen of Iran (MEK), claimed that 100,000 Iranians attended the annual rally at Le Bourget, near Paris, on Saturday.
The MEK is reviled by Tehran for siding with Saddam Hussein during the Iran-Iraq war of 1980-88 and labelled as a terrorist group by Iran.
“Egyptian authorities are expected to adopt responsible and principled policies and take steps toward preserving peace and stability in the region,” the Iranian official said, quoted late Wednesday by the official IRNA news agency.
Also attending and speaking at the rally was Saudi Arabia’s Prince Turki bin Faisal al-Saud, a member of the royal family and veteran figure in Saudi intelligence. Iranian officials have accused Riyadh of funding the group.
Prince Faisal praised the Paris gathering and said the whole Muslim world supported its cause, according to Saudi news site Asharq al-Awsat.
Addressing MEK leaders, the prince reportedly said: “And you, Maryam Rajavi, your endeavour to rid your people of the Khomeinist cancer is an historic epic that… will remain inscribed in the annals of history.” Rajavi is wife of MEK leader Massoud Rajavi.
“These statements confirm that Saudi Arabia’s widespread financial and security support for terrorism has always been the agenda of Riyadh,” said Iran’s former deputy foreign minister, Hossein Amir-Abdollahian.
Tehran broke off diplomatic relations with Cairo in 1980 a year after Iran’s Islamic revolution, in protest at Egypt’s signing of a peace treaty with Israel and hosting of the deposed shah.
The two countries maintain only interests sections in each other’s capitals.
The envoy for his part stressed that Egypt does not meddle in the domestic affairs of other countries, IRNA reported.
Tehran has also summoned the French ambassador over the annual rally held at Le Bourget, near Paris, by the NCRI.
“The holding of this rally by those whose hands are stained with the blood of the Iranian people… is unacceptable,” said the message handed to French ambassador Francois Senemaud by senior foreign ministry official Abolqassem Delfi, state media reported.
The US State Department listed MEK as a “terrorist organisation” in 1997.
After the US-led invasion of 2003, its remaining fighters were disarmed and placed in camps in Iraq where many of them remain with their families to this day.
It was removed from terrorist watch lists by the European Union in 2008 and the United States in 2012.
Source: Middle East Eye