In recent days, a massive Saudi media campaign in support of the Iranian opposition has been underway. The campaign was launched right after former Saudi intelligence minister and ambassador to the U.S. Emir Turki Al-Faisal attended the July 9, 2016 Paris conference of the National Council of Resistance of Iran, an umbrella organization of five Iranian opposition groups in exile, the largest one being Mojahedin-e-Khalq.
Addressing the conference, Al-Faisal harshly criticized the Iranian regime, and expressed explicit support for the opposition's demand to topple the Iranian regime - the first time a Saudi official has expressed such support. Al-Faisal further emphasized that the Iranian people cannot go on suffering from the regime's policy of oppressing and humiliating its opponents and minorities within the country, particularly its Arabs, Sunnis, and Kurds.
Al-Faisal's speech received widespread positive coverage in the Saudi press, and this coverage was accompanied by increased expressions of anti-Iran sentiment and of support for the opposition in that country. Several articles in the Saudi press, including editorials, launched withering attacks on Iran and called for toppling its regime. The articles claimed that the Iranian regime had adopted a policy of racial repression and discrimination within Iran and was even exporting this policy to several Arab countries via Iranian support for various terrorist organizations operating within these countries. The articles encouraged the Iranian opposition to work at bringing down the Iranian regime, a course of action defined as "the optimal way" for restoring peace and security to the entire region. Articles in a similar vein were published in the Kuwaiti and Bahraini press. .
It should be noted that on social media, Saudi intellectuals, for example, the author and journalist Turki Al-Hamad and Muhammad A'al Al-Sheikh, who tweeted on their Twitter accounts that Turki Al-Faisal's participation in the Paris Iranian opposition congress was a mistake. Al-Hamad even argued that by his participation, Al-Faisal may have provided justification for Iranian intervention in the neighboring countries.
Following are examples from the Saudi anti-Iranian regime media campaign:
Turki Al-Faisal At National Council Of Resistance Of Iran Conference: "I Also Want The [Iranian] Regime To Be Toppled"
In his statements at the National Council of Resistance of Iran conference in Paris, Emir Turki Al-Faisal harshly criticized the Iranian regime for oppressing its people. He said that ever since the days of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the founder of the Islamic Revolution in Iran, the Iranian regime had worked to export the Islamic Revolution to the Arab and Islamic countries, in an attempt to control them by means of interfering in their internal affairs and establishing sectarian terrorist organizations on the pretext of defending "the oppressed" in Iraq, Lebanon, Syria, and Yemen. He also accused Iran of aiding armed sectarian groups, as well as Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, Hizbullah, and Al-Qaeda, in order to foment chaos in the region. Stressing that this Iranian policy has caused devastation, spread sectarianism, and led to bloodshed in Iran and the Middle East, he added that it has, first and foremost, impacted Iran's own citizens. In response to audience chants of "The people wants to topple the regime" - a common slogan during the Arab Spring - Al-Faisal said: "I also want the [Iranian] regime to be toppled."
Editorials: Toppling The Iranian Regime Is The Best Way To Achieve Global Peace And Security; Al-Youm: Iranians Call To Topple Regime, Many Countries Around The World Agree
Following Turki Al-Faisal's statements, many articles condemning the Iranian regime and supporting its removal were published. The official Saudi daily Al-Youm's July 11 editorial criticized the Iranian regime's policy of exporting the Islamic Revolution to the countries in the region, leading to their destruction, and argued that toppling the regime was the best way to ensure peace and security in those countries that are subject to Iranian interference. The editorial stated: "Exporting the Iranian Khomeinist revolution to the world has led only to the destruction of all nations that experimented, and are still experimenting, with the dictates and principles of this revolution of devastation... Removing the regime of the Rule of the Jurisprudent from Iran, the region, and the world in general is the best way to spread security, peace, and tranquility in many communities that experienced the Iranian regime's interference in their affairs. The Iranian people [itself] is still calling for toppling the regime of the Rule of the Jurisprudent, and many countries around the world agree [with this call], in light of the crimes, horrors, and terrorist actions it carries out...
"The oppression that was and still is being carried out by the Iranian regime against the Ahwazi people and in Yemen, Syria, Libya, Iraq, and Lebanon, as well as its open support for the Lebanese terrorist organization Hizbullah and its total support for destructive and terrorist actions around the world, confirms [the statement] that toppling the regime of the Rule of the Jurisprudent is the best way to achieve security and peace in many regions and countries around the world.
"Since the days of Khomeini, the Iranian regime has tried to force its authority on the Islamic countries and to spread the principle of exporting the revolution to the Arab and Islamic countries. However, this aggressive attempt has only led to the sowing of widespread conflict [in these countries], and to their destruction - sparking wars there and undermining the stability and security of [their] communities. The blatant Iranian interference in the affairs of the other has caused conflicts, riots, and wars."
Iran's satanic policy in the Arab region - the devil remains "on" while the angel is permanently "off" (Al-Sharq Al-Awsat, London, July 11, 2016)
Senior Saudi Writer: Arab Representation At The Paris Session - A Message To The Iranian People To Stop Showing Restraint Towards The Regime
Ayman Al-Hamad, an editorial writer for the official Saudi daily Al-Riyadh, also criticized what he called the Iranian regime's racist policy towards non-Persian minorities, and described how it attempts to apply this policy in other Arab countries, leading to their destruction, which benefitted Israel. He wrote: "The Iranian regime in Tehran has turned its back on its sons, who have criticized its policy and rule... Those who oppose the concept of the Rule of the Jurisprudent and its authority is against the revolution that brought the slogans of liberty, victory for the Iranian man, and the struggle against corruption. The fall of the Shah regime gave rise to an extremist theocratic segment that utilized all forms of barbaric behavior, constitutionally legitimized sectarianism, and championed the Persian race...
"The Iranian regime... attempted to export its crisis in religious guise, by undermining regional security and stability, supporting armed factions in the Arab and Muslim countries by egging them on and aiding them with weapons and training under revolutionary or religious slogans, and later by carrying out terrorist acts [using these same armed proxies]. Today we find in the Arab countries those who are tempted by the slogans of the Iranian clerics who are attempting, by means of these slogans, to win over the Shi'ites, to play upon their religious sentiment, to try to undermine their sense of nationalism, and to cast doubt upon the legitimacy of their leaders. This comes while the regime in Tehran is not concealing its racism against the Arab Shi'ites in Iran - the events in Al-Ahwaz being the best evidence of this regime's racism - and is showering praise on the Palestinian issue, which it sees as its ticket [into] other Arab [countries]...
"It is Iran and its militias that have served the Israeli occupation, through their hostile actions towards the Arab countries, particularly after the Arab Spring. [Iran's] support for the Syrian regime's [actions] against its own people led to the destruction of Syria. This is also true for Iraq. These two countries began dealing with the threat of division, which led to the two greatest Arab armies leaving the Arab balance of power because of Iran's policy, enabling Israel to sleep soundly. The Iranian opposition summit that was held two days ago [July 9] included large-scale Arab and international representation, reflecting the aversion to the existing regime in Tehran and to its actions against its people and its Arab and Muslim neighbors. This Arab, Islamic, and international representation is a message to the Iranian homeland not to continue to show restraint as it witnesses the economic destruction of its cultured, capable, and lofty country, and the expulsion of its people - all for the sake of the empty words of its ayatollahs."
Al-Sharq: "Peoples Can Withstand Any Regime, But At Some Point Things Go Too Far"
The July 11 editorial of the official Saudi daily Al-Sharq argued that the Iranian regime was not working in the interests of its people, and that it was not seeking regional stability because it would ultimately lead to a change that it did not desire, since the peoples always win in the end:
"Peoples can withstand any regime, but at some point things go too far, and in the case of the Iranian people, this point was reached many years [ago]... The Iranian regime does not seek stability in the region, and does not want its people benefiting from the country's resources via development programs and services; rather, it wants illogical and useless adventures aimed at harming peaceful peoples and interfering in their affairs in a way that is unacceptable to the entire world. The rulers in Tehran should note the fact of a turning point, which could lead them to a situation they do not desire, as peoples always emerge victorious."
Articles, Cartoons, Posters In Saudi Press Criticizing Iranian Regime, Praising Iranian Opposition
The Saudi media campaign to topple the Iranian regime also included cartoon, posters, and articles supporting the Iranian opposition and its call for toppling the country's current regime. Below are a few examples:
"The people wants to topple the [Iranian] regime" ('Okaz, Saudi Arabia, July 11, 2016)
The two-faced Iranian "Mullah regime" funds the terrorist organizations while it executes the "Iranian people" (Al-Jazirah, Saudi Arabia, July 12, 2016)
Article in Saudi daily supports Paris conference with headline in Arabic and Farsi: "Freedom Summit... 'Very Good'... Death to Supreme Leader [Khamenei]... 'Death to the Leader of Iran'" accompanied by image of Khamenei crumbling to dust ('Okaz, Saudi Arabia, July 12, 2016)
Infographic: "100,000 Iranians expose the shame of the Rule of the Jurisprudent" (Makkah, Saudi Arabia, July 11, 2016)
Saudi daily posts video titled "The Ayatollah Terrorism" highlighting organizations supported by Iran, such as Hizbullah in Lebanon and the Houthis in Yemen ('Okaz, Saudi Arabia, July 11, 2016)
Article in Saudi daily titled "The Rule of the Jurisprudent Coordinates With ISIS, As the World Turns a Blind Eye to Iran's Terrorism" ('Okaz, Saudi Arabia, July 12, 2016)
Infographic titled "Iran and Israel - Two Sides of the Same Coin" compares Israel's treatment of the Palestinians and Iran's treatment of Arab Ahwazis (Al-Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, July 11, 2016)
"Ahwazi Revolution" strikes blow against "Iranian Government" (Al-Jazirah, Saudi Arabia, July 11, 2016)
Infographic: "The Acid of the [Iranian] Basij Disfigures Iranian Women" (Al-Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, July 11, 2016)
Headline in Saudi daily: "Media: Ayatollah Regime Faces Grave Situation, Undergoes Worst Crisis Since Its Establishment"; the subhead reads: "Former French Human Rights Minister: Political Situation In Iran Is Shaky" (Al-Youm, Saudi Arabia, July 12, 2016)
Infographic: Ayatollah Khomeini's false promises to the Iranian people for a rosy future after the Islamic Revolution (Al-Sharq, Saudi Arabia, July 12, 2016)
Infographic: "The Courts of the Iranian Islamic Revolution - The Most Dangerous Body Established After 1979 [the year of the revolution]" (Al-Sharq, Saudi Arabia, July 12, 2016)
Infographics: "After the nuclear agreement, Iran has become more aggressive" and increased its terrorist acts around the world (Makka, Saudi Arabia, July 11, 2016)
E. Ezrahi is a Research Fellow at MEMRI.*
 See, for example, the following July 12, 2016 articles: "We Also Want to Topple the Ayatollah Regime" by Khalid Al-Sharida, Al-Youm (Saudi Arabia), and "Emir [Turki Al-Faisal] - We Also Want to Topple the Regime" by Faisal Al-'Asaf, Al-Hayat (London),
 See, for example, the July 12, 2016 articles by 'Abdallah Al-Hadlaq in the official Kuwaiti daily Al-Watan titled "Liberating Iran and Its People from the Ayatollahs' Terror" and the article by Faisal Al-Shaikh in the official Bahraini daily Al-Watan titled "Toppling the Rule of the Jurisprudent."
 For example, July 11, 2016 articles in the official Saudi dailies 'Okaz and Al-Riyadh described the Iranian regime's persecution and oppression of ethnic minorities in the country, such as the Ahwazi Arabs, Kurds, and Baluchis. 'Okaz even featured an interview with an exiled Ahwazi human rights activist, who said that there has been a recent increase in voices inside Iran speaking out against the regime's oppression at home and its interference in the affairs of other countries. See: 'Okaz (Saudi Arabia), July 11, 2016; Al-Riyadh (Saudi Arabia), July 11, 2016. The Saudi press published similar reports in 2014. See also MEMRI Special Dispatch No. 5904, Saudi Media Campaign Denounces 'Ethnic Minority Oppression' In Iran, December 15, 2014.
 'Okaz (Saudi Arabia), July 11, 2016; Al-Riyadh (Saudi Arabia), July 11, 2016.
 Twitter.com/TurkiHAlhamad, July 9, 2016; Twitter.com/alshaikhmhmd, July 9, 2016.
 Al-Iqtisadiyya (Saudi Arabia), July 9, 2016.
 It should be mentioned that the following day, July 12, Al-Youm featured another editorial with a similar message titled "Together to Support the Iranian People and Defeat the Rule of the Jurisprudent."
 Al-Youm (Saudi Arabia), July 11, 2016.
 Al-Riyadh (Saudi Arabia), July 11, 2016.
 Al-Sharq (Saudi Arabia), July 11, 2016.