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Kurdish leader was assassinated by Iran in 1989

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The terrorists who killed Kurdish leader Dr. Abdolrahman Ghasemlou have never been brought to justice, thanks to government corruption in Austria. (Photo: Twitter)

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From the beginning of the mullah’s reign of terror, the Kurds along with other minorities in Iran tried to fight for their rights through legal ways. One of the pioneer parties in Kurdistan at that time was PDKI (the Democratic Party of Iranian Kurdistan), which was led by Dr. Abdolrahman Ghasemlou. He deeply believed in peace and finally sacrificed his soul while he was at the negotiation table with the mullahs.

“From the first days of the Islamic regime’s establishment in Iran in 1979, PDKI led by Dr. Ghasemlou tried to earn Kurds freedom and rights in Iran by negotiation,” said Taimur Mostafayi, a member of leadership council of PDKI. “But as the government viewed this to be against their beliefs, they not only declined to accept it, but Khomeini declared Jihad against Kurdish people who were Muslim. Khomeini named them as infidels and ordered them to be killed. After that, the IRGC corps attacked Kurdistan and killed and executed many and destroyed many villages.”

Mostafayi declared in those days Kurdish political parties did nothing except to defend their people and the PDKI leadership. Dr. Ghasemlou had a charismatic personality and studied economics in the West. As the secretary –general of PDKI, he tried to find a peaceful solution to the problem and as a result he sat at the negotiation table with the regime several times despite knowing their intentions. He was assassinated by the Iranian regime’s faux diplomats at the negotiation table in Vienna on December 13, 1989 and lost his soul alongside two others, Abdollah Ghaderi Azar and Fazel Rasoul.

Mostafayi then added: “He was looking for a peaceful solution for the Kurds, seeking to get them human and political rights in Iran. There are many undeniable documents that the Austrian government at that time was aware of the plan, but as that government had sold arms and weapons to both Iran and Iraq in their war, which was illegal according to international law, they prevented the truth from being revealed.”

As Iran and Austria had a huge economic relationship worth more than billions of dollars, the Austrian government did not allow the police and judicial forces to do their investigations and sabotaged their affairs. Mostafayi then concluded that “Although this assassination was done in one of the world’s democratic countries, the terrorists did not get punished and after 32 years of that terror, the Austrian government is not ready yet to do investigation and do justice.”

After the assassination of Dr. Ghasemlou, PDKI in its congress elected Dr. Sadegh Sharafkandi as its next secretary general. He was also of the belief that PDKI should seek a peaceful solution for the Kurds in Iran. But as the Iran`s regime was not ready to provide Kurds rights, they assassinated him just three years after Ghasemlou`s assassination which was known as Mykonos.

Parwiz Dastmalchi survived the Mykonos terror attack and then published a book titled “Terror, Under The Name Of God, which describes the terrorism orchestrated by Iran’s regime.

He tells us what caused the regime to decide to assassinate Dr. Ghasemlou: “Dr.Ghasemlou wanted to unite the Kurds beyond Iran’s borders, so the IRGC commander in Kurdistan informed Tehran that Ghasemlou wanted to negotiate in order to decrease the political tension between Kurds and the regime. The regime feared that Ghasemlou would become the main political force in Kurdistan and then it would be very difficult to remove him.”

In December 1988, a diplomatic group, who were originally terrorists, secretly travelled to Vienna to participate in negotiations with PDKI leaders. The Iran`s group chairman was Mohammad Jafar Sahraroudi, accompanied by Mostafa Ajoudi and Ghafour Darjazi who killed Ghasemlou negotiating at the table. “Although the Kurdish leaders have no trust in Iran regarding negotiations after Khomeini died, Rafsanjani tried to convince them that he is a man of peace, so he sent his terrorists as diplomats to bring them to the negotiation table and to kill them,” Dastmalchi added.

The orchestrators of this crime were arrested by the police. Sahraroudi was injured and was interrogated by the police in hospital, as the two others were, but finally they were released and legally travelled to Tehran.

This confirms that the Austrian officials closed their eyes to that crime, which Dastmalchi believes occurred because the Austrian government sold weapons to Iran for the war with Iraq in defiance of an embargo. Some of the officials took bribes which Sahraroudi was aware of. Afraid to be identified, they released him. Dastmalchi believes that if the mullahs were held responsible for what they did in Vienna like they were in Berlin, the Vienna terror attack would never have happened. 

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“Dr. Ghasemlou was a realistic personality, who believed in democracy and human rights,” said Azad Mostowfi, a journalist and a member of KDP (Kurdistan Democratic Party) living in France.

Mostowfi declared that Ghasemlou did not look at Kurdistan as an interior issue and tried to make it a matter of international concern: “The Kurdish issue in all its dimensions is the problem of millions of Kurds, which must be expressed. Our wishes are human rights-based. The Kurds want their legitimate rights, which are compatible with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. They are seeking their humanitarian rights. Those people and organizations who call themselves human rights defenders are friends of Kurdistan and they support us.”

“Dr. Ghasemlou wanted the Kurdish issue and the issues involving other minorities in Iran to be solved peacefully and he fought for peace and that’s why when Iran’s regime requested him for negotiations, he accepted,” declared Mostowfi.

Sirwan Mansouri, a Kurdish journalist based in the Middle East, believes that the Islamic regime of Iran feared that Ghasemlou could unite other minorities inside Iran against the government, so the regime considered him as a real threat and finally killed him.

“As Dr. Ghasemlou studied in the West, he was so familiar with the problems of the world especially in countries like Iran, he was in touch with many political figures in the West.  He was a democrat and a liberal and so he tried to reach a solution for the Kurdish problem inside Iran.” Mansouri declared. “Ghasemlou had a completely political character.  All of the opposition figures knew him.  He was an academic person with a political background, so he tried to create unity among the opposition political parties, a coalition against the regime to create a powerful front against the regime.”

Mansouri stated it was the regime who forced Dr. Ghasemlou to shift his ways; “The regime left no other way for the Kurds but to fight. They had to defend their rights and people. The Kurds tried every way but saw only closed doors, even when Khomeini died and the Iran –Iraq war finished. Ghasemlou went back to the negotiation table with hope that he would find a solution, but it was a trap in fact that the regime spread to eliminate him.”

Although Abdolrahman Ghasemlou was killed by the terrorist regime of Iran, his name is well remembered by Kurds and others who care about peace across the world, Mansouri concluded.

Rachel Avraham is a political analyst working at the Safadi Center for International Diplomacy, Research, Public Relations and Human Rights.  She is the author of “Women and Jihad: Debating Palestinian Female Suicide Bombings at the American, Israeli and Arab Media.”  

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