The MEK transferred its headquarters to Iraq after France agreed to expel them in order to release French hostages in Lebanon in 1986, during the Iran–Iraq War. Near the end of the 1980–88 war between Iraq and Iran, a military force of 7,000 members of the MEK, armed and equipped by Saddam's Iraq and calling itself the National Liberation Army of Iran (NLA), went into action. On July 26, 1988, six days after the Ayatollah Khomeini had announced his acceptance of the UN brokered ceasefire resolution, the NLA advanced under heavy Iraqi air cover, crossing the Iranian border from Iraq. It seized and razed to the ground the Iranian town of Islamabad-e Gharb. As it advanced further into Iran, Iraq ceased its air support and Iranian forces cut off NLA supply lines and counterattacked under cover of fighter planes and helicopter gunships.
On July 29 the NLA announced a voluntary withdrawal back to Iraq. The MEK claims it lost 1,400 dead or missing and the Islamic Republic sustained 55,000 casualties (either IRGC, Basij forces, or the army). The Islamic Republic claims to have killed 4,500 NLA during the operation.(1)
U.S. Senator Sam Brownback, a Republican from Kansas and chairman of the Foreign Relations subcommittee on South Asia, then accused the French of doing "the Iranian government's dirty work". Along with other members of Congress, he wrote a letter of protest to President Jacques Chirac, while longtime MEK supporters such as Sheila Jackson-Lee, a Democrat from Texas, criticized Maryam Radjavi's arrest. (2)
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). (3)
1-Hiro, Dilip, The Longest War (1999), pp. 246–7
2- Rubin, Elizabeth. "The Cult of Rajavi". The New York Times. Retrieved 2006-04-21.