ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – The Democratic Party of Iranian Kurdistan (PDKI) on Monday welcomed a statement by a senior US official on Iran’s assassination of Kurdish leader Dr. Abdul Rahman Ghassemlou with Washington saying it will pay more attention to murders carried out by Iran in the West.
Iranian assassins killed Ghassemlou in Vienna on July 13, 1989.
Last week, Brian Hook, Director of Policy Planning at the State Department, in a press briefing referred to the assassination of the Kurdish leader.
“This is – this month of July is the 29th anniversary that Iranian operatives, using diplomatic cover, assassinated the head of an Iranian Kurdish dissident group and two others,” Hook concluded.
“And so we will be, in the near term, reminding people of Iran and the violence that they have – a lot of their attacks, assassinations, bombings, cyber-attacks, kidnappings, hostage-takings, hijackings, small arms attacks, from 1979 to 2018, and we will be discussing that in every region of the world.”
“It signifies a change in the US approach toward Iran. I believe no one, even Austrians, had doubted for a moment that it was Iran who did this but it was, I think, the first time a government formally talks about it. It is really important in terms of restoring justice in an international sphere,” Arash Saleh, representative of the PDKI to the US, told Kurdistan 24.
The official said Tehran is still threatening Iranian opposition leaders in Europe and the region. “Utilizing terrorism has always been a pillar in Iran’s domestic and foreign policies. The recent arrests in Europe tell us Iran has never stopped political assassinations neither at home or abroad,” he said.
“They assassinated one of our members in [the Kurdistan Region] a few months ago, and they still use assassinations at home to get rid of dissidents,” he added.
In March 2018, Qadir Qadiri, a senior Kurdish Peshmerga Commander of the Kurdistan Democratic Party in Iran (KDP-Iran) was killed in Rania city.
Furthermore, Komala and the Kurdistan Freedom Party (PAK) have accused Iran of attempted assassinations in recent years.
Moreover, last year, the Arab leader of an Iranian opposition party was also allegedly assassinated by Iran in the Netherlands.
“The Executive Board of PDKI welcomes and supports the United States’ recent efforts to raise international awareness on the global assassination campaign and other terrorist activities of the Islamic Republic of Iran from 1979 to the present,” the PDKI said.
“In particular, PDKI welcomes and supports US efforts to remind Europe of the assassination of the Kurdish leader Dr. Abdul Rahman Ghassemlou by Iranian diplomats-cum-terrorists in Vienna on July 13, 1989,” the PDKI statement added.
Furthermore, on July 5, the US Bureau of Counterterrorism published a list of Iranian assassinations in Europe between 1979 and 2018, which includes the assassination of Dr. Ghassemlou as well as the murder of Dr. Sadeq Sharafkandi, who was assassinated by Iran in Berlin on Sep. 17, 1992.
The PDKI at the time held the leaders of the Iranian regime responsible for the assassination of Dr. Ghassemlou and his aides and said Austria’s decision to facilitate the free passage of the Iranian agents back to Iran obstructed justice in this case.
“Therefore, when the United States after 29 years raises the assassination case of Dr. Ghassemlou, it is a courageous step in the struggle against Iran’s global assassination campaign, which has continued unabated since 1979,” the PDKI statement added.
The Iranian Kurdish party also called on European officials that attempted to save the nuclear deal to “address Iranian terror acts on European soil, especially the assassination of Dr. Ghassemlou in Vienna, in their negotiations with Iran.”
“This is both a moral responsibility and a measure to protect the security of Europe. Iran continues its terrorist activities in Europe, which endangers the security of European countries,” the PDKI said.
On July 2, Iranians were arrested in Europe for allegedly plotting an attack on an exiled Iranian opposition group in France.
The Netherlands also expelled two diplomats last week.
The PDKI called on Western countries “to realize that Iran is the major source of terrorism in the world and that only regime change will ensure that Iran ends its terrorist activities and destabilizing foreign policy.”
“Efforts to change the ‘behavior’ or ‘policies’ of the Iranian regime are doomed to fail, as has been demonstrated repeatedly for the past four decades,” the statement concluded.
According to Jonathan Spyer, a Middle East analyst, the new US policy under President Donald Trump might result in more support for Iranian Kurds.
“There is already evidence on the ground for this. PDKI leader Mustafa Hijri, for example, just completed a successful visit to DC,” he told Kurdistan 24.
Abdullah Mohtadi, leader of Komala, and Mustafa Hijri, head of the PDKI, visited Washington last month.
“I think there is a real possibility of increased US attention to and support for Iranian Kurds if the unrest in Iran continues and spreads.”
Editing by Karzan Sulaivany