THE BLOG

Iran's State-Sponsored Oppression of Kurdistan

09/14/2014 09:09 EDT | Updated 11/14/2014 05:59 EST

Since the establishment of the Islamic Republic of Iran in 1979, sponsorship of terrorism has been always one of the outreach tools of the theocratic government in Tehran. Although the Iranian government officials claim that terrorism is strange to them, an immense weight of example shows that orchestrated terrorism inside and outside Iran has been a major factor in practice of the regime.

Right after Ayatollah Khomeini's arrival to Iran, his government launched an orchestrated campaign to eliminate his opponents or what he referred to as "infidels." One of the significant areas of Iran that has been under severe suppression of the Iranian government is Kurdistan.

The Kurds are the largest nation in the world without a country. Iran has a great number of Kurdish residents. Either during the military dictatorship of the Shah or the current theocratic government of the Islamic Republic of Iran, the Kurds have been victims of political oppression and cultural assimilation. The Kurds of Iran have never been involved in political decision-making of the country and for decades, they were banned from practicing their mother language.

During its 35 years of existence, the Iranian government has taken away the lives of many Kurds including, Kurdish fighters (Peshmerge), youth, and Kurdish intellectuals and leaders. Since the Kurdish political parties of the Iranian Kurdistan such as the Party Democratic Kurdistan of Iran and the Komala Party of Iranian Kurdistan have a great popularity among the Kurds of Iran, the Iranian government has always set a policy to assassinate the Kurdish leaders in order to break down the political structure of these parties.

The Iranian government has been always frightened by the union of the Kurds and the Kurdish political parties. Dr. Abdolrahman Ghassemlou (the former Secretary General of the Party Democratic Kurdistan of Iran who was assassinated by the agents of the Iranian government on July 13, 1989 in Vienna) had the ability to internationalize the Kurdish issue. Due to his charismatic character and political knowledge, Dr. Ghassemlou became a main target on the Iranian government's assassination list.

Another significant terrorist attack by Iranian government agents on Kurdish political figures occurred in a Berlin restaurant named Mykonos on September 17, 1992. As a result of this terrorist plot, Dr. Sadegh Sharafkandi (the Secretary General of the Party Democratic Kurdistan of Iran), Fattah Abdoli, Homayoun Ardalan, and Nouri Dehkordi were murdered. On April 10, 1997, a Berlin court announced the assassination was plotted by Ayatollah Ali Khamenei (Iran's Supreme Leader), Ayatollah Akbar Rafsanjani (then Iran's president), and Ayatollah Ali Fallahian (Iran's former minister of intelligence and security).

This attack was coordinated by Iran's secret services in Bonn -- which were instrumental in enabling terrorist attacks against Iranian dissidents across Europe during the late1970s and 1990s. The Berlin court found Kazem Darabi (the main organizer of Berlin Assassination, Iran's Ministry of Intelligence and Security agent, a member of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps) and Abbas Rhayel (Lebanese, a member of Hezballah organization, trained by the Iranian government, the person who shot Dr. Sadegh Sharafkandi and Homayoun Ardalan) guilty.

Furthermore, Yousef Amin (Lebanese, a member of Hezballah organization, trained by the Iranian government), Mohammad Atris (Lebanese), and Atallah Ayad (Lebanese) were convicted of participating in this crime. Both Darabi and Rhayel were sentenced to life imprisonment. Later, the Berlin court issued an international arrest warrant for Ali Fallahian, Iran's former minister of intelligence due to his involvement in decision-making and planning the assassination along with Khamenei and Rafsanjani.

Finally, the political assassinations plotted by the Iranian government during the late 1970s and the early 1990s against its opponents was a way to strengthen and maintain their political structure. Both the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps, especially its external branch the Qods Force and Iran's Ministry of Intelligence and Security had a key role in organizing these assassinations across the United States, Europe, and Iran's neighbour countries. To this day, especially under the rule of the so-called "moderate" President Hassan Rouhani, Iran has been silent about these crimes.