Turkish Offensive into Rojava, Reasons and Implications

This gallery contains 2 photos.

By Sharif Behruz Turkey has launched a planned military offensive into the Kurdish territories in northeastern Syria, long held by the Kurdish forces led by Syrian Democratic Forces ever since Syrian regime forces abandoned those territories in 2012. Turkey’s President, … Continue reading

More Galleries | Leave a comment

Prostitution, a growing trend in Kurdish areas, lack of mismanagement and leadership to be blamed

This gallery contains 1 photo.

-Prostitution, addiction and other social problems have always been on the rise ever since this regime and the ones before it took control of our land. Occupiers and the Iranian oppressors are the sins of Kurdish society in Eastern Kurdistan. … Continue reading

More Galleries | Leave a comment

Iran counters ‘Maximum Pressure’ by reaching out to the Kurds

This gallery contains 1 photo.

The author well explains #Iran’s incentives to reach out to its Kurdish foes; however, it is not clear in this piece why the Kurdish political leaders would concede to an alleged meeting with the regime never been so desperate. I … Continue reading

More Galleries | Leave a comment

Iranian regime lobbyists in Canada defeated, Bill S-219 is voted to be debated in the Senate Chamber

This gallery contains 1 photo.

TORONTO, Canada – A Canadian senator has urged his colleagues to abandon a proposed bill that would impose sanctions on Iran, saying that the draft does not fulfil its stated aim “to deter Iran-sponsored terrorism, incitement to hatred, and human … Continue reading

More Galleries | Leave a comment

Contact Canadian Senators to vote for Act to deter Iran-sponsored terrorism, incitement to hatred, and human rights violations during their session on Wednesday

Non-Nuclear Sanctions Against Iran Act An Act to deter Iran-sponsored terrorism, incitement to hatred, and human rights violations Canada’s Senate Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade is expected to vote on Bill S-219: Non-Nuclear Sanctions Against Iran Act, … Continue reading

More Galleries | Leave a comment

VOA: Kurdish Rebels, Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Renew Decades-old Conflict

This gallery contains 1 photo.

July 13, 2016 Sirwan Kajjo Mehdi Jedinia Kurdish rebels have been clashing with Iran’s Revolutionary Guard since mid-June in an area along the Iran-Iraq border, according to Iran’s state TV. Videos on social media also allegedly show Iran shelling positions … Continue reading

More Galleries | Leave a comment

Iran’s Rojhelat Mourn the Loss of Their Leader with Public Strikes

This gallery contains 18 photos.

Following Democratic Party of Iranian Kurdistan’s (PDKI) call to stage a general strike across Rojhelat (Eastern Kurdistan) in Iran to commemorate the assassination of Dr. Ghassemlou, eye witnesses report of massive response to PDKI’s call.  Major Kurdish cities such as Sine … Continue reading

More Galleries | Leave a comment

IRGC Vessels Mounted with Machine Guns Continue to Harass US Warship in Strait of Hormuz with the Top General on Board

This gallery contains 1 photo.

AMMAN, Jordan—The U.S. military has released photos of Iranian boats that approached two Navy warships Monday as they transited through the Strait of Hormuz with a special passenger aboard: Gen. Joe Votel, the head of U.S. Central Command, which oversees … Continue reading

More Galleries | Leave a comment

Amnesty: 700 Executions in Iran in Just Six Months

Kurdpa: It is believed the Iranian authorities have executed about 700 people in six months, according to Amnesty International.

Iran is believed to have executed 694 people between January 1 and July 15, 2015, said Amnesty International, resulting in an unprecedented spike in executions in the country.

This number is equivalent to executing more than three people per day. At this shocking pace, Iran is set to surpass the total number of executions in the country recorded by Amnesty International last year.

“Iran’s staggering execution toll for the first half of this year paints a sinister picture of the machinery of the state carrying out premeditated, judicially-sanctioned killings on a mass scale,” said Said Boumedouha, Deputy Director of Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa Programme.

“If Iran’s authorities maintain this horrifying execution rate we are likely to see more than 1,000 state-sanctioned deaths by the year’s end”, he further added.

According to figures available to Kurdpa, 39 Kurds in Iran are believed to have been executed during that period of time.

Aside from these 39 executions, four Kurdish political prisoners have also received death sentences and currently await their executions.

“Among those executed in Iran are also members of ethnic and religious minorities convicted of ‘enmity against God’ and ‘corruption on earth’, including Kurdish political prisoners and Sunni Muslims”, read a new report by Amnesty International.

Based on information released by human rights organizations, several thousand people are believed to be on death row in Iran. According to Iranian authorities, 80% of those awaiting execution are convicted of drug-related offences.

“It is especially harrowing that there is no end in sight for this theatre of cruelty with Iran’s gallows awaiting thousands more death row prisoners”, said Boumedouha.

“Prisoners in Iran are often left languishing on death row, wondering each day if it will be their last. In many cases they are notified of their execution only a few hours beforehand and in some cases, families learn about the fate of their loved ones days, if not weeks, later”, concluded the report by Amnesty International.

In 2014, official sources confirmed 289 executions, however according to Dr. Ahmed Shaheed, UN Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran, the figure stood at 753 for 2015.

Writing by Kurdpa Staff Writers and editing by Sharmin Hassaniani.

Source: http://www.kurdpa.net/english/more/65896 

Posted in Human Rights, News | Leave a comment

Unrest in Kurdistan, Nukes Deal with Iran, Parts of Our Discussion on WSRadio with Host Cynthia Dillion

This interview was conducted on Wednesday May 13, 2015.  Here are some of the discussion excerpts from WSRadio website:

The View from Abroad. Iran. Sharif Behruz
Sharif Behruz is co-founder of the Iran Roundtable, described in its website as a “non-partisan, non-profit coalition of Iranian-American of all ethnic groups and nationalities, dedicated to the advocacy of the rule of law, freedom and democracy for Iran and advancing the interests of the Iranian-American community in the US.” Mr. Behruz, a resident of Canada, explains in his own words, how his “father and family were evicted from Iran, in 1988, traveling in the back of a truck… to the Iraqi border…from there, they were able to apply for refugee status and moved to Canada…” Mr. Behruz comments on the riots and demonstrations that erupted last week in Mahabad, the Iranian Kurdish capital, (with 280,000 residents) over the sudden death/suicide of a young Kurdish girl. The incident is so disturbing because it provides an example of how “women in Iran, as a whole and particularly Kurdish women, have little legal protection against sexual harassment and violence, ” as Dr. Amir Sharif of the Kurdish Human Rights Advocacy Group once stated… Mr. Behruz speaks of his people’s desire to “dissent” under a “dictatorship,” and how they have to utilize any incident to let their voices be heard by the outside world. Mr. Behruz provides an update on the crime, and the outcome of what appears to be nothing less than the usual procedures by the authorities: a total “lack of an investigation under the regime’s standards…” Mr. Behruz also speaks of the 2009 demonstrations…”that could have toppled the regime…” but were ignored by this Administration…

source 

The View from Abroad. The Iran Nuclear Deal. Sharif Behruz
Mr. Behruz speaks about the Iran Nuclear Deal, commenting on his article, published in November 2014, titled “Deal or no Deal, Iran is the winner…” For him, “negotiations with the regime have been futile (since 2003)” and affirms that the Iranian leaders ” are betting on time…,” waiting to see “the changing alliances, the coalitions,” and the players,” the Europeans and the Americans…” Shrewd negotiators, and playing on the weaknesses of the West (they need Iran’s assistance against ISIS, in Iraq, Yemen, Afghanistan and Syria!), the Iranians are now demanding “the total lifting of economic sanctions…” Mr. Behruz also comments on Senator McCain’s recent criticisms of Secretary Kerry, noting profusely, “Senator McCain is right!”…”And by focusing too much on this Deal, the Administration has alienated its closest allies, Israel and the Arabs…, ” proof of this is tomorrow’s Summit in Camp David with Arab friends… however, Saudi Arabia’s Monarch and Bahrain’s King will be absent… Mr. Behruz concludes the interview by speaking of the Iran he envisions with a “Democratic future, pluralistic, where different nationalities have a say, in a federalist structure…” The will of the People: Freedom.

source: WSRadio 

Posted in Interviews, News | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Al Arabiya: Clashes between Kurds and Iranian forces after suicide

Clashes erupted between Kurds and Iranian security forces on Thursday in Iran’s city of Mahabad where a woman is said to have committed suicide after a man tried to rape her, Al Arabiya reported.

Security forces were deployed to deal with the angry crowds who had gathered to protest against what one source said was Tehran’s discriminatory treatment of its Kurdish population.

According to posts on social media, hotel employee Frinaz Khasarwani committed suicide after a ministry of tourism official tried to sexually assault her, reportedly in collaboration with the hotel’s manager who was trying to get a five-star listing from the ministry.

However, what has been posted on social media is a “weak narration” of the incident, Kurdish news website Rudaw reported citing a resident in the area who called upon the crowds to give authorities enough time to carry out its investigation.

Posted in News | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Mirror: Protesters burn down hotel after ‘female worker jumps to her death to avoid being raped by army officer’

By John Shammas

This is the moment a group of enraged protesters set fire to a hotel after the mysterious death of one of its workers.

Protesters have claimed that the woman jumped to her death from the fourth floor of the building to avoid being raped by an Iranian army officer.

The riotous scenes in the Kurdish city of Mahabad, Iran have led to violent clashes between police and protestors today.

Officers are using tear gas to remove the hundreds who have taken to the streets after they set fire to Tara Hotel, located near the Iraqi border.

The woman has been named as 25-year-old Farinaz Khosrawani, with social media users using the hashtag #JusticeForFarinaz to share photos and videos of their protests.

Jaafar Katani, the mayor of Muhabat, told local news organisation Rudaw: “The people must wait until the investigation results are out to find out the reason behind Khosrawani’s death.”

Khosrawani’s family have said that they are awaiting the result of an investigation by authorities into the death.

The city has a population of 280,000 people, and protesters are continuing to take to the streets.

Source: Mirror

Posted in News | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

New York Times: Riot Erupts in Iran’s Kurdish Capital Over Woman’s Death

Reporting from Tehran

TEHRAN — Furious over the unexplained death of a chambermaid, ethnic Kurds in an Iranian provincial capital rioted on Thursday, apparently setting the fire that roared through the hotel where she had worked. Police officers used tear gas to disperse the crowds, according to news accounts, witnesses, and images posted on social media.

The anger, which appeared to have been smoldering for days in the city, Mahabad, spread over the mysterious circumstances surrounding the fate of the chambermaid, Farinaz Khosravani, 25, who on Monday plunged from a fourth-floor window of the city’s only four-star hotel, the Tara, Kurdish news media reported. Mahabad is the capital of West Azerbaijan Province, and its population is mostly Kurdish.

The protesters suspected foul play in Ms. Khosravani’s death, according to the Rudaw news website, based in the neighboring Kurdish region of Iraq.

Images were posted on Twitter of flames roaring throughout the hotel’s five floors. The presence of hundreds of men outside the hotel, some with raised fists, seemed to indicate that the fire had been set by protesters.

“It took some days for the news to spread,” said one Mahabad resident in a telephone interview; he declined to give his name for fear of retribution.

He said that many in the city of 280,000, had read news on the Internet saying that Ms. Khosravani had been trying to escape an Iranian official who was threatening to rape her. According to those reports, the official had the help of the hotel’s owner, who had been promised a fifth star for helping arrange the official’s stay there.

“The city is boiling with anger,” the resident said. “People are protesting, and some have attacked the hotel where she worked.”

Iran’s state news media did not immediately report on the rioting. The Kurdish-populated area of the country, which has occasionally been convulsed by unrest, is a politically delicate subject.

Kurdpress, an Iranian-Kurdish website that is not obstructed in Iran, quoted the governor of the Kurdistan province, Jafar Katani, saying on Wednesday that “no official was involved.”

In an interview with the site, the governor said someone had tried to rape Ms. Khosravani, and said that a man taken into custody had been helping the hotel raise its standards.

In 2005, the city was the scene of unrest that lasted for several days, after an episode involving the security forces and local Kurds. But in recent years, Kurdish areas of Iran have had an increase in business, mainly smuggling. As a result, ethnic tensions have mostly receded.

Posted in News | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

ARA News: Kurds in Mahabad protest against authorities

Erbil, Kurdistan Region – Hundreds of Kurds took to the streets on Thursday in the city of Mahabad, northwestern Iran, to protest against an Iranian officer who sexually harassed a Kurdish girl causing her to commit suicide, locals reported.

Local activists reported that the Kurdish girl, Farinaz Khosrwni, 23, who was working in Tarai hotel in Mahabad, has committed suicide after an Iranian intelligence officer tried to rape her.

“She threw herself from the hotel’s balcony on the fourth floor, for fear of being captured by the Iranian officer,” the sources said.

Activists on social networking sites have shared the news in the city and called for a campaign of mass protests across Mahabad. Thousands of Kurds protested in front of the hotel and burned it.

The security forces has reportedly fired live bullets at the protesters after blocking the roads linking the protest’s location with other parts of the city.

Speaking to ARA News, Kurdish activist Ibrahim Asaad said that the Iranian regime’s practices against the Kurds “reached unbearable level”.

“The Kurdish people in Iran have be subject to persecution and suppression by the authorities. This incident, although seems individual, reflects the degree of brutality of security officers in Mahabad,” he said.

“This protest has been motivated by sympathy with the victim and dozens other victims who were exposed to such acts by the Iranian authorities. The Kurdish residents of Mahabad won’t stop protesting until making sure that the perpetrators are prosecuted,” Asaad told ARA News.

Over the past few months, the Iranian authorities executed several Kurdish activists. Last February, the Kurdish political activist Saman Nesim was executed in the jail of the city of Urmia, in western Iran, on charges of participating in armed activities of the Party of Free Life of Kurdistan against the Iranian government.

 

Reporting by: Sarbaz Yousef and Jiwan Saman

Source: ARA News

Posted in News | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Rudaw: Hotel torched, tear gas in streets of Iran’s Mahabad

ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – Tensions are on edge in the ethnically Kurdish city of Mahabad, Iran, where protesters earlier torched a hotel over the unexplained death one of its female employees.

Police on Thursday used tear gas to remove hundreds of demonstrators from the area in front of the damaged Tara Hotel, leading to near riot conditions in the city some 200km from the border with Iraq’s Kurdistan region.

At least one protester has been reported injured in the incident that began after the death of Farinaz Khosrawani, 25, who was killed by a fall from the 4th floor of the hotel.

The death was denounced by local demonstrators who suspected foul play. Despite the arrest of a suspect, protesters set fire to part of the hotel.

“The people must wait until the investigation results are out to find out the reason behind Khosrawani’s death,” Jaafar Katani, Muhabat mayor, told Rudaw.

Khosrawani’s family agreed withe the investigation but tensions remain high in the city of 280,000 people.

“We are waiting the result of the investigation,” a family member told a Rudaw.

http://rudaw.net/english/middleeast/iran/07052015

Posted in Human Rights, News | Tagged | Leave a comment

Video: Anti-riot Forces Fire at Protesters in the Kurdish City of Mahabad

A large demonstration in front of Hotel Tara to protest the murder of a young Kurdish girl who escaped rape in the hands of intelligence agent by jumping from the four story hotel. She died immediately and the hotel owner is alleged to be an accomplice in the murder. Apparently she was working at the hotel. The owner of the hotel had lured her into a room for this government agent whom the hotel owner wanted to bribe to get 5 star rating for his hotel. She jumped off the window of that same room to escape rape. People of Mahabad have been calling for full investigation into the murder. They organized a protest in front of the Hotel and set the hotel ablaze. Special riot forces were called to the scene of the demonstration and there are rumours that live shots were fired into the crowd resulting in the death of a protester and the injury of several others.

Posted in Activities, Human Rights, News, Updates | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Islamic Republic Is Betting on Time

Iran Roundtable

The Five Permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany (P5+1) and  Iran announced a framework parameters regarding the regime of Islamic Republic of Iran’s nuclear program on April 1st in the run-up to reach a final deal by June 30.

Despite the high optimism of a potential lasting agreement, considering the clerical regime’s track record of walking away when a deal is imminent, this framework, if agreed by all sides could lead to further tensions as the regime, as has always done, will not keep its side of the bargain.  They are already offering contradictory interpretation of the mutual agreed long march framework.

In the agreed framework it states, “Iran will receive sanctions relief, if it verifiably abides by its commitments.” However, Rouhani, the regime’s President, said during a ceremony marking Iran’s nuclear technology day that no agreement will be signed, “unless all economic sanctions are totally lifted on the first day of the implementation of the deal.”

The framework and the proponents of the deal, mainly the Obama Administration argues that “Iran has agreed to only enrich uranium using its first generation (IR-1 models) centrifuges,” while Iran’s Foreign Minister, Javad Zarif along with the regime’s nuclear chief – also top negotiators – both told a closed-door session of the parliament on Tuesday (following the eight day long talks in Geneva) that “The country would inject UF6 gas into the latest generation of its centrifuge machines as soon as a final nuclear deal goes into effect by Tehran and the six world powers.”

Most importantly, the regime’s ultimate decision maker, the Supreme Leader, is signalling again and again that he does not have faith in these negotiations, and believes that a deal cannot be reached by June.  He even declared that the military sites would be strictly off limit to foreign inspectors, quite contrary to the IAEA Additional Protocol which Iran has apparently agreed to implement under this framework which would allow inspectors to visit “declared and undeclared nuclear facilities.”

These contradictory statements and past futile negotiations prove that this clerical regime well knows the significance of change in the political landscape in Washington and elsewhere in Europe.  Dragging the negotiations beyond next year will certainly mean another couple of years before a new US President is inaugurated to take up the Iran case again while the regime enjoys relaxed sanctions and greater access to international markets in this period.  This has prompted the lawmakers, even those from President’s own party, to be very suspicious of the negotiations, the regime’s ultimate objectives.  Thus, they have embarked on taking a bold stance against any deal that would ease the sanction regime while still leaving the regime with enrichment capabilities, let alone its plans to develop inter-continental ballistic missiles, support for terrorism and regional instability.

It is evident that on one hand economic paralysis due to sanctions, world unity and heightened use of force brought Iran to the same table and negotiations that were underway almost a decade ago.  On the other hand, the regime views negotiations with world powers as a way of displaying its leverage and pride and a means of continued survival.  What has been agreed in the week long marathon negotiations could have been agreed a decade ago, but to this regime and its leaders, negotiations are not the means, rather the ends.  It is clear that the Mullahs in Iran only wanted to have the sanctions loosened and leave these nuclear installations and capabilities in place so they can retract from the agreement at will and pave their way towards the bomb when the moment is right.  It took years of diplomacy and dedication to impose the current sanctions on the regime; however, removing them will take years, if not decades, to put back in place, in its current force.  Thus, it is naive to argue that they will be ‘snapped back’ if the regime violates the agreement.

Bear in mind, that given the transformations in the region, this regime views nuclear weapons an existential necessity and will soon, rather than later, realize this long held objective of becoming a nuclear force in the region, second to Israel.

We have argued in the past that investing in nuclear technology is not in the best interest of the people of Iran for simple reasons: Iran has an abundance of energy resources that committing to such ambitious nuclear agenda for the sole purpose of power generation and research, as they falsely claim, is costly and unnecessary.  The second most important aspect of our objection is safety; Iran lies under a series of earthquake fault lines, and none of these nuclear facilities can withstand large Richter quakes or other natural disasters which could cause devastations larger than Chernobyl and the Japan nuclear spill.  Given Iranian regime’s hostile behaviour in the region, these nuclear installations can become target in the event of any attack on the regime by those forces suspicious and worried of Iran’s aggressions in Lebanon, Syria, Palestinian territories, Yemen, Bahrain and beyond.

Lastly, the tyrannical regime in Iran remains the world’s largest sponsor of terrorism and major violator of human rights.  The bulk of sanctions on the regime were due to gross human rights violation and those individuals and entities that played a major role in such violations, such the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, its affiliated business entities and individuals.  Regardless of the memorandum of understanding between the parties on the regime’s nuclear program – irrespective of its triumph or fall through – non-nuclear sanctions should remain intact and even increased given escalated level of executions and human right violations since the coming to power of the so-called reformist President Hassan Rouhani.

We welcome Iran’s peaceful coexistence with its neighbours and its rightful place in the community of nations.  Iran’s sovereignty and international rights must be respected at all times; however, such rights must only be exercised when it is in the best interest of Iran’s people, something that this clerical regime has proven to be alien to.

Finally, this regime cannot be at peace with the outside and at war with its own people.  We are rightly concerned that for as long as this regime is in power, the people of Iran will not attain their rightful place in the international community, and will not realize their lasting peace domestically, regionally and with the larger international community.

Posted in News | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Iran’s Rouhani: Lift sanctions immediately or no final nuke deal

USA Today

Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, joined that nation’s president Thursday in saying any nuclear agreement must include the immediate lifting of economic sanctions choking the country.

In his first public comments on the framework for a deal with world powers released last week, Khamenei told a gathering of religious poets he “is neither for nor against” the agreement. Because the agreement is just on a framework, not a deal itself, “nothing has been done yet,” he said.

“What has happened so far neither guarantees a deal … nor does it guarantee the content of a deal,” he said. “It doesn’t even guarantee the talks will go on until the end and will lead to a deal.”

He said the punitive “sanctions should be lifted completely on the very day of the deal.”

The United States, United Kingdom, France, Russia, China and Germany — the so-called P5 +1 group — reached an understanding with Iran last week on limits to its nuclear program in return for lifting crippling economic sanctions.

The United States has said the sanctions would be lifted in phases, but the details have not been negotiated.

Negotiators have until June 30 to fill in the critical details to assure Iran it will get relief from the sanctions as soon as possible and to guarantee world powers that Iran won’t develop a nuclear weapon.

“The process of sanctions suspension or relief will only begin after Iran has completed its major nuclear steps and the breakout time has been increased to at least a year,” State Department spokesman Jeff Rathke said Thursday in Washington.

“That’s consistent with what we said over the last week or so, and that was agreed upon by all the parties,” he said.

Khamenei said the group of world powers is “not to be trusted” and may try “to limit Iran” in further talks.

Posted in News | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

In Pictures: At the Conference of Armenian Genocide

March 20, 2015: At the Conference on Genocide ‘Prevention to Justice’ organized by the Armenian Genocide Centennial and Armenian National Committee of Canada at University of Toronto.

Honored to be here, however, disgusted by the presence of so-called Yeizidi representative from ‘Yezidi Yezidi Human Rights Organization-International‘ as a guest speaker who falsely claimed Kurds are committing genocide against the Yeizidi Kurds.  Such fabricated claims come as Kurds from all backgrounds are sacrificing their lives to defend the Yeizidi community against the threat of ISIS.

As a Kurd, I apologize for any roles the choice-less Kurds might have played in the genocide committed by the Ottaman Turks against the Armenians, however allowing such person to utter such fabricated claims at this sombre occasion is quite unfortunate especially when Kurds themselves have been victims of genocide by their neighbours and oppressive states.

Posted in Activities, Commentary, News | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

In Pictures: Meeting with the Canadian Defence Minister, Mr. Jason Kenney

On March 20, 2015, at the request of the Office of Canada’s Defence Ministry, a delegation of Canadian Kurds from all parts of Kurdistan met the Minister, Mr. Jason Kenney.

At the meeting, the Member of Parliament  for Mississauga-Streetsville, Mr. Brad Butt was also present.  So far, Brad has made several visits to Kurdistan Region in Iraq, and he continues to advocate for stronger Kurdistan-Canada relation and cooperation.

I also attended the meeting where for my part, I briefed the Minister on the situation in the region.  I emphasized to the Minister the role Canada can play in pressuring Turkey to abandon ties with the Islamist groups such as ISIS and other terrorist groups.  I also noted that Canada can play an instrumental role in pressuring Turkey to treat its Kurds with dignity and respect as equal citizens.  Canada, in turn, must de-list Kurdistan Workers’ Party unfairly designated as a terrorist organization by the Government of Canada.

I also added that Canada should continue supporting the Peshmarga forces and directly arm the Kurds in their fight against ISIS.  Many heavy weaponry that end up in Baghdad will be either stored or given to Iran’s Revolutionary Guards.

I also reminded the Minister that Canada should not coordinate its war on ISIS with the Islamic regime in Iran, nor should it share any intelligence with the regime.  I warned the Minister of Iran’s increasing role in the region, and the grave threat that the Kurdistan Region faces in the hands of the Iranian IRGC and Iran-backed Shia militias in Iraq.

I shared with the Minister our concern for a more prudent policy vis-a-vis the freedom-loving people of Iran, the opposition, and those who flee the persecution of this barbaric regime.  I reiterated, once more, my support for Canada’s policy towards the regime, however, I reminded the Minister that Canada needs to help the people of Iran realize their long-held dream of a free and democratic Iran.

Finally, I discussed the ‘inadmissibility’ problem facing many Kurdish refugees who have fled Iranian regime’s persecution, awaiting in countries such Turkey to be resettled in a third country .  Though, not his area of responsibility, the Minister acknowledged inadmissibility loopholes within the Canadian immigration system, given the many years he was the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration Canada.

 

Posted in Activities, Commentary, Human Rights, News, Testimony & Speeches | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

What are Iran’s Goals in Iraq?

By: Mustafa Hijri

pdki.org

Currently, Iranian forces alongside with Shiite militias, who are funded and controlled by Iran, are fighting the Islamic State in Tikrit and other places in Iraq. The Islamic State, or Daesh, gained international attention following the seizure of Mosul, Iraq’s second largest city. However, more than a year before Daesh seized control of Mosul, our party publicly warned, based on credible intelligence, that Iranian agents had infiltrated Daesh and that if unchecked, the expansion of this terrorist group would serve Iranian interests in Syria and beyond. Media outlets in the Gulf countries, citing their own intelligence sources, also warned of this scenario.

To some analysts and policymakers in the West, these claims might seem puzzling. Some might even dismiss them as yet another conspiracy theory emanating from the Middle East.

However, aside from the intelligence on Iran’s infiltration of Daesh, past Iranian actions and the consequences of the rise of Daesh can be cited in support of those claims.

First, Iran’s support and funding of various terrorist groups throughout the Middle East is well known. For example, in a report by the Library of Congress on Iran’s Minister of Intelligence and Security it is stated that Iran “provides financial, material, technological, or other support services to Hamas, Hezbollah, and al-Qaeda in Iraq (AQI), all designated terrorist organizations under U.S. Executive Order 13224.”

While the Iranian regime adheres to a fundamentalist interpretation of Shiite Islam and is in conflict with the Sunnis, Tehran has on numerous occasions supported terrorist Sunni groups to destabilize strategically important countries in the Middle East. Iranian infiltration of and support for Daesh should therefore come as no surprise, although Iranian forces are fighting the group in Iraq.

Second, once the Iranian regime and its Syrian ally realized that secular forces who were taking the lead in the fight against the combined forces of Assad, Iran and Hezbollah could become a viable opposition force, they capitalized on Daesh’s split from al-Qaida and in various ways made sure that Daesh – which had set out to eliminate all other opposition groups – could become the dominant group in Syria. At the same time, Iraq’s former prime minister, Nouri al-Maliki, released many members of Daesh from prison that subsequently joined the group in Syria. Iran, the Shiite-dominated government in Iraq and the Assad regime in Syria were fearful that the secular forces in Syria could become an ideologically attractive ally for the Western powers.

To discredit the Syrian opposition and paint it as a radical Sunni movement dominated by a vicious terrorist organization like Daesh, their aim was to compel the Western powers to reconsider their plans for regime change and accept the Assad regime as the lesser evil compared to a possible Daesh takeover in Syria. To this end, Iran and the Assad regime gave Daesh free leeway to establish its control over Raaqah in Syria, from where it later could expand into other parts of Syria and, as it turned out, even Iraq. Although this too might sound as bizarre, reports had for some time indicated that the expansion of Daesh was indeed facilitated by Iran and Syria. For example, the Washington Post reported on June 10, 2014, the following: “Moderate rebel groups complain that ISIS’s rise has been aided by the relative disinterest shown by Syrian government forces in the areas under the group’s control, which are rarely subjected to airstrikes and bombardment. That has helped the group set up its own version of a government.”

Third, irrespective of whether one finds existing intelligence in that regard as credible, the rise and expansion of Daesh have as a matter of fact served the interests of the Islamic regime in Iran. In other words, irrespective of Iranian intentions and schemes, the consequences of Daesh’s emergence as a formidable fighting force in Syria and, later, its expansion into Iraq has served the interests of the regime in Tehran.

Although Iran is allied with some Shiite groups in Iraq, the regime in Tehran has defined its strategic interests in Iraq in three ways. The first is to preclude the emergence of a federal democracy in Iraq that is stable and economically and politically strong enough to become a regional power with the capacity to block Iranian hegemony. Although the regime in Tehran is rhetorically committed to “friendly” relations with Iraq, it pursues a policy of divide and conquer toward its Shiite-dominated neighbor. The second strategic objective of Iran in Iraq is to make sure that democracy does not take root. In fact, Iran’s concerted effort is to make sure that democracy is associated with chaos and instability. The third Iranian strategic interest in Iraq is to undermine the Kurdistan regional government and make sure that the Kurds do not progress further. Iran is fearful of the Kurdistan regional government and its drive toward independence because of its demonstration effect on other parts of Kurdistan.

It is noteworthy that Daesh first stated that it would seize Baghdad once it consolidated itself in Mosul. However, Daesh instead attacked Iraqi Kurdistan. This came at a time when the Iraqi-Kurdish leadership called for a referendum on independence.

In short, Daesh’s expansion into Iraq, which was facilitated by Iran, the Assad regime and the Maliki government, has made Iraq even weaker and thus more amenable to Iranian control. The Iraqi army has been reduced substantially. Meanwhile, Shiite militias that answer to Iran have become the most powerful military forces in Iraq. These militias terrorize the Sunni population and thus perpetuate the sectarian conflict between Shiites and Sunnis. In fact, Daesh has helped the Shiite government in Iraq in this regard by eliminating prominent figures and tribal leaders within the Sunni community, thus making the Sunnis even more vulnerable. At the same time, the Kurdistan region’s war with Daesh has drained the limited resources of the Kurdish government, resulted in hundreds of thousands of internally displaced persons, several thousand dead and injured Peshmergas, as well as other dangerous consequences for Iraq at large and the Kurdistan region in particular.

In the midst of all this, there are naïve journalists, pundits and even some government officials in the Western world who have bought into the propaganda by the Iranian regime’s lobby that it is a force for “stability” in the region. The regime in Tehran, which is the major source of instability throughout the Middle East, is painted in some circles as a possible stabilizing factor in Iraq and elsewhere.

However, as recently warned by General David H. Petraeus, former commander of U.S. forces in Iraq, the strategic threat to stability, democracy and western interests in Iraq and Syria is the Iranian regime. According to Gen. Petraeus, Iran is on the verge of creating a terrorist proxy similar to Hezbollah in Lebanon, thus posing a strategic threat to the balance of power in the region.

In spite of the economic siege on Iraqi Kurdistan, the Kurdish government and the brave Peshmerga forces have managed to not only withstand the multiple military attacks by Daesh, but also to push back this terrorist group from Kurdish territory. Once Daesh is defeated, a war between the Peshmerga Forces and the militias of Iran in Iraq is likely. This is likely to start in Kirkuk and other strategically important places.

To prevent a situation where the West has to decide whether to fight a war with Iran’s proxies in Iraq, the United States and its allies should increase their support for the Kurdistan region. Only through a visible presence in combination with financial and military support for the Kurdistan region can the West undermine Iran’s drive for hegemony in the Middle East.

Posted in News, PDKI's | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Season’s Greetings – Happy Newroz

Posted in News, Photo Gallery, Updates | Tagged | Leave a comment

To US Congress: Reform VOA-Persian Service to better communicate US policy to the peoples of Iran

Iran is the most diverse country in the Middle East; understanding this population’s diversity has serious implications for an effective US foreign policy towards Iran and to the future US-Iran relations.  US need a consistent policy that supports the human rights and democratic aspirations of Iranians in their struggle for freedom and democracy.  Freedom-loving Iranians are looking for support from the outside world, especially from the United States. Most importantly, they are looking to be heard and the VOA-Persian must not silence anti-regime democracy activists belonging to non-Persian minority groups.

 Open Letter:

RE: Reform VOA-Persian Service to better communicate US policy to the peoples of Iran

 February 12, 2015

Dear members of the United States Congress:

We, the undersigned represent various segments of Iranian society, mainly the oppressed and unrepresented non-Persian nationalities.  As part of wider Iranian civil, democratic and secular opposition, we also represent our diverse constituencies in the United States.

Voice of America (VOA) as a United States Government (USG) broadcast service overseen by Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) whose mission is “to inform, engage, and connect people around the world in support of freedom and democracy,” strives to broadcast “The long-range interests of the United States” by communicating directly with the peoples of the world.  The VOA endeavors to win the attention and respect of its listeners and to be an effective US public diplomacy tool as described in its Charter.

VOA Persian, a subset of VOA, is America’s leading platform for reaching directly to all Iranians.. Given the regime of Islamic Republic of Iran’s tight grip on what information its citizens can have access to, VOA-Persian can be an effective medium in reaching out to all peoples of Iran and offering them unfiltered news and information.  Regrettably, the broadcast with over 200 full time employees and tens of millions of dollars in US taxpayers’ money, in our opinion, lags far behind objectives set by the BBG and the VOA

To begin, for VOA Persian to be effective, it must understand the societal structure of the target country.  As you all well know, Iran is not a homorganic country and despite the fact that Persian/Farsi is claimed to be the official language, it is not the sole language spoken in the country.  In absence of any ethnic-based statistics by the Iranian regime field research indicates that the Persian-speaking Iranians comprise less than half of Iran’s population, while Azari Turks, Kurds, Baloch, Arabs and Turkmens, Lors, Bakhtiari and Ghashghai make up the majority of the population.

Regardless of the undemocratic and illusory approach of current and formers Iranian regimes in regards to the issues of non-dominant non-Persian nationalities, it would be in the best interest of the USG to recognize this mosaic composition of Iran – especially by VOA Persian – to deliver information and US policies to the all Iranian national groups not a select group.  Unfortunately, the current editorial policy of VOA-Persian is primarily and specifically focused Persian speaking Iranians.  This editorial content and screening is clearly flawed and non-inclusive:  It is based on an ultra-nationalist, hubristic and chauvinistic policy that excludes the majority of the country’s population; therefore VOA-Persian fails to “win the attention and respect of listeners,” outlined in VOA’s mission statement.

The VOA’s Service should respect Iran’s diversity exemplified by America’s respect for diversity and human rights.  At VOA-Persian hosts and guests are usually handpicked Persian ultra-nationalists and former regime officials who harbor anti-US sentiments and overwhelmingly ignore or deny the existence of non-Persian nationalities in Iran.

VOA-Persian should strive to be a platform for oppressed nationalities and not a propaganda tool for Persian supremacists and the lobbyists of the theocratic regime in Iran.  On the rare occasions when representatives of non-Persian nationalities are invited to VOA-Persian programs, they have been subjected to an inquisition, on and off-air, as to whether they are members of “Aqwam” (derogatory term used when referring to nationalities meaning “tribal” in Persian) and whether they hold any secessionist thoughts, and most importantly whether or not they advocate regime change in Iran.

Those who dare to describe themselves as members of oppressed nationalities or simply refer to themselves, as Iranians belonging to an ethnic group other than Persian are not welcomed and deprived of further appearances.  The existence of this discriminatory vetting process in an USG-funded broadcast service is incredibly disturbing. One can only assume that it was allowed to continue because neither the VOA director nor the BBG oversight were aware of what was and is going on. These practices not only violate VOA charter, they are also against the First Amendment. In meetings with Mr. David Ensor, VOA director and with VOA-Persian management and staff, our representatives (all US citizens) have delineated these concerns

Partly, this misunderstanding or lack of awareness is the perplexity of US foreign policy toward Iran, and underlines its inability to chart out an appropriate foreign policy consistent with the long-term interests of both countries.  As a result, American policy makers have little understanding of the socio-political and ethnic dynamics of the country. The pro-regime lobbyists in Washington have also been quite instrumental in creating such misperception.

Regretfully, the Iranian regime through its proxies is deeply involved in the editorial policy and even hires and selects personnel. We confirm numerous reports by Helle Dale a Senior Fellow for Public Diplomacy in The Heritage Foundation, Adam Kredo of the Washington Free Beacon, and other journalists that there are pro-regime individuals currently working at VOA-Persian Service and providing sensitive classified information to regime security officials. Some of the key personnel in VOA are former employees and otherwise associates of Iranian lobby groups, and have worked for the various news agencies owned by or linked to the regime’s notorious Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), listed by the US as a terrorist organization. This has clearly compromised VOA-Persian Service’s ability to serve its mission, and will continue to do so if left unabated.

Although many complaints about the network have been filed by various Iranian opposition and other non-Persian nationalities, the Service is still riddled with problems that prevent it from being an effective tool of US public diplomacy. Problems have worsened since the last report of the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) in 2009, and President Obama’s 2010 directive to investigate VOA’s ineffectiveness and find the root of the problems.

The widespread violation of individual and collective rights of non-Persian nationalities well documented by countless rights agencies including the UN Special Rapporeurs on the human rights situations in Iran, State Department’s annual country report, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, and others are rarely included in VOA Persian news and programs. VOA Persian Service refuses to broadcast news of human rights violations against non-Persian nationalities. Yet, according to Amnesty International nationalities “are subject to discriminatory laws and practices,” Furthermore, the UN General Assembly voiced concern over “increasing discrimination and other human rights violations against ethnic and religious minorities,” and called on Iran to eliminate ethnic-based discrimination.

Unfortunately, VOA-Persian functions similar to the tightly controlled Iranian state media or other Persian media abroad when it comes to covering issues and events related to non-Persian regions of Iran.  Reports of imprisonment, extra-judicial killings, mistreatment, disappearances and executions of hundreds of Arab, Baloch, Azari, Turkmen, Kurd, Lor and Ghashghai activists in the past year under President Rouhani’s are rarely reported by VOA-Persian.  Also a listener to VOA-Persian Service one would rarely hear against the regime’s ethnic cleansing, forced population relocation, land confiscation, lack of access to services in native languages in courts, schools and public service centers, and systematic repression against Iran’s non-Persian nationalities.

The country’s socio-economic crisis and the regime’s profound unpopularity, especially in non-Persian regions are never or rarely covered in VOA-Persian programming. Such discontent has led to widespread armed and civil insurgencies and protests against the regime of Islamic Republic of Iran, with little or no coverage from VOA-Persian Service.  Clashes and skirmishes occur on daily basis in non-Persian areas, but VOA-Persian Service rarely mentions them because their main source of information is Iran’s controlled domestic media who pick and choose what to feed to the outside world.

Iran is the most diverse country in the Middle East; understanding this population’s diversity has serious implications for an effective US foreign policy towards Iran and to the future US-Iran relations.  US need a consistent policy that supports the human rights and democratic aspirations of Iranians in their struggle for freedom and democracy.  Freedom-loving Iranians are looking for support from the outside world, especially from the United States. Most importantly, they are looking to be heard and the VOA-Persian must not silence anti-regime democracy activists belonging to non-Persian minority groups.

We are available to meet and address in detail problems undermining the effectiveness of VOA Persian Service; meanwhile, for the time being we respectfully recommend the following:

  • Conduct a public Congressional hearing to investigate the effectiveness of VOA Persian broadcasts, its personnel, and management.
  • Conduct a study into the effectiveness and scope of VOA-Persian in Iran as it has been done with other VOA services, especially Turkish and public media behavior in Turkey. Given the enormous budget devoted to this Broadcast, BBG directors must know what percentages of Iranians are tuning into VOA-Persian as their news and information and what percentage of those Iranians are non-Persians.
  • Conduct a thorough enquiry into the staff and directors of the VOA-Persian Service for level of journalistic professionalism, partisanship, prejudice and bias; most importantly, mandate that the personnel, anchors and management of VOA Persian Service be diversified to truly reflect the demographic diversity of the Iranian population. Unfortunately, there can be little faith in change of service delivery without changes in the VOA-Persian Service’s staff and management.
  • It is highly recommended that the VOA should broadcast separate Iran-focused programs in other languages widely spoken in Iran, including Azari, Arabic, Balochi and Kurdish. Bearing in mind that VOA services in some of those languages are already available, except there is little focus on the nationalities in Iran and their issues. Given Iran’s strict censorship compared to its neighbors such as Iraq, Turkey, Azerbaijan Republic and other Gulf countries, the existing VOA Kurdish, Azeri and Arabic services should also focus more on Iranian nationalities as well.

Lastly, as mentioned, despite the millions of dollars in US taxpayers’ money, the VOA-Persian Service performs far below minimum expectations.  It also lags far behind other similarly publicly funded networks such as BBC Persian and others with a fraction of VOA-Persian Service’s budget.

Diversification of VOA Persian Service in both personnel and content will promote the US policies and values among all Iranians regardless of their ethnicity or religion.  It would also serve to inform, engage, and connect with all peoples of Iran in support of freedom, democracy and human rights.

Thank you in advance for your consideration.

Sincerely,

Karim Abdian, Executive Director of Ahwaz Human Rights Organization and representative of Ahwazi-Arab Community in North America

Jalil Azadikhah, Journalist, magazine editor and US Representative of Kumleh Party of Iranian Kurdistan

Habib Azarsina, Representative of South-Azerbaijani (Iranian Azerbaijan) Community in the U.S and a former official of VOA.

Sharif Behruz, Kurdish-Iranian activist, political analyst and co-founder and President of Iran Roundtable.

M.H. Husseinbor, Professor of International law and human rights and executive Director of Baloch Council and representative of the Baloch-American Community in the U.S.

Ashkbous Talebi, Psychology Lecturer -activist of Language and Cultural Heritage of Ghashghai people in Southern parts of Iran.

Faramarz Bakhtiar, Spokesman, party of United Lurestan and Bakhtiari

Afraisab Shekofteh, Spokesman, Organization of Kurdish Kurmanji People of North Khorasan

Jousef Kor, Director of Iranian Turkmenistan Human Rights Organization

 

Posted in Human Rights, News, Sharif's | Leave a comment

Iranian Regime as Defiant as Ever with the $100 Billion-plus in Sanctions Relief

By Lawrence J. Haas | US News July 12, 2016, at 11:15 a.m. As the global nuclear deal with Iran marks its one-year anniversary this week, Tehran is maintaining its fierce anti-Americanism, receiving $100 billion-plus in sanctions relief with which it can … Continue reading

More Galleries | Leave a comment

Call for General Strike on 27th Anniversary of the Assassination of Dr. Ghassemlou

PDKI.ORG

July 13, 2016, marks the 27th anniversary of the assassination of Dr. Ghassemlou by Iranian diplomats in Vienna, Austria. PDKI has in the past called on the Kurdish people in eastern (Iranian) Kurdistan to stage general strikes to commemorate the assassination of Dr. Ghassemlou. This year, PDKI calls for a general strike against the backdrop of the party’s new strategy of interlocking the struggle of our Peshmega Forces in the mountains with the struggle of the Kurdish people in the cities.

Taimor Mustafai, a senior PDKI official, announced PDKI’s call for a general strike at a press conference today, July 11.

Addressing the Kurdish people, he stated that “the more we join forces in resisting the Iranian regime, the more it will back down and the less resistance [the Iranian regime] faces, the more brutal it becomes.”

Mustafai pointed to the sacrifices of PDKI’s Peshmerga Forces this summer and called on the Kurdish people to reciprocate these sacrifices by heeding the party’s call for a general strike and civil disobedience.

Mustafai also revealed new data on PDKI’s struggle against the Islamist regime since 1979. From 1979 to 1996, when PDKI waged a popular insurgency against the Iranian regime, more than 23,000 members of Iran’s Islamic revolutionary guards were killed. This figure does not include casualties from Iran’s other armed forces. During the same period, i.e. 1979-1996, PDKI’s Peshmerga Forces carried out 17,500 military operations, in which approximately 5000 Peshmergas were martyred.

Dr. A. R. Ghassemlou, one of the prominent leaders of the Kurdish nation, was assassinated by Iranian diplomats during peace talks in Vienna on July 13, 1989. The Iranian diplomats-cum-terrorists were arrested shortly after the murder. Instead of investigating the murders and putting the assassins on trial, Austrian authorities sent them back to Tehran.

Dr. Ghassemlou was in Austria to negotiate with Iranian representatives on Kurdish rights and self-rule for eastern Kurdistan. The negotiations were launched at the initiative of the Iranian government.

Dr. Ghassemlou, a resolute advocate of the rights of his people and a determined leader who did not rule out guerrilla warfare, was a man of peace and gave it a chance whenever possible. He went to the negotiating table in good faith.

Posters, slogans and placards are widespread across Kurdish towns and countryside in preparation for celebrating and commemorating major events, such as PDKI’s Anniversary, the Anniversary of Kurdistan Republic of 1946, Anniversary of PDKI leaders death and etc…Many activists who perform such dangerous clandestine activities, if caught spend years in prison if not executed.   

By assassinating Dr. Ghassemlou, the Iranian regime lived up to the entrenched view among the Kurdish nation that it is not trustworthy, and that assassination is part and parcel of its political mindset and practice.

It was the “pragmatist” or so-called moderate faction of Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, the president of Iran at the time, that called for secret talks with PDKI. The Rafsanjani faction urged the PDKI to hold secret talks in order to prevent “hardline” factions within the Iranian regime from sabotaging the talks. Yet it turned out to be a plot. The assassination of Dr. Ghassemlou was ordered by Ali Khamenei, the supreme leader, Rafsanjani and other senior leaders of the islamist regime in Tehran. The assassination was planned by the Iranian regime’s intelligence agency and was carried out in concert with Iran’s Foreign Ministry.

Following the assassination of Dr. Ghassemlou in 1989 and the assassination of Dr. Sharafkandi in 1992, PDKI’s new leadership has decided not to trust the Iranian regime.

PDKI is committed to a peaceful resolution of the Kurdish issue and does not rule out negotiations. Nevertheless, we have come to the conclusion that there are no fundamental ideological or political differences between the various factions within the Islamist regime in Iran with respect to the Kurdish issue and other issues of concern to the international community, such as human rights, terrorism, the nuclear program, destabilization and domination of the Middle East etc.

PDKI’s new strategy of continuing and reinvigorating the party’s decades-long struggle in pursuit of the liberty of the Kurdish nation is multifaceted. While we give priority to the role of our Peshmerga Forces to that end, we also call on the Kurdish people in eastern Kurdistan to stage general strikes and to engage in other forms of civil disobedience.

We know from experience that the Iranian regime does not tolerate any kind of strikes and civil disobedience in Kurdistan. In the past, the Islamist regime in Iran has used various intimidating and violent means in prevent the Kurdish people from commemorating their fallen leaders.

Nevertheless, in implementing its new strategy of interlocking the struggle of our Peshmerga Forces in the mountains and the struggle of the Kurdish people in the cities, PDKI takes the long view and has patience.

Kaboudvand condemns state terrorism from his prison cell

Shops face closure failing to raise regime’s flag on the anniversary of the Revolution

Defiance to Iran’s Theocracy Continues in Iranian Kurdistan

Kurdish satellite channel jammed again as Kurds mourn the murder of their leader

BIOGRAPHY
Abdul Rahman Ghassemlou was born on 22 December 1930 in the Ghassemlou valley near the Kurdish city of Ûrmiyeh. He went to primary school in Ûrmiyeh. Later, he continued his studies in Tehran.

Ghassemlou’s involvement in politics started early in life. He was, at the age of 15, one of the founders of Democratic Youth Union of Iranian Kurdistan. Due to the Iranian government’s oppression of the Kurdish people, his political activities mostly took a clandestine form.

Ghassemlou attended university in Paris and Prague. In Prague, he meets Helen (Nasrin) Krulich, whom he later married. They had two daughters together, Mina (1953) and Hiwa (1955).

He earned a Ph.D. Degree in Economics and was an Associate Professor in both Paris and Prague. He taught International Economics at the Vysoká s´kola ekonomická (“Prague School of Economics”) and, later, Kurdish studies at Sorbonne University in Paris.

Dr. Ghassemlou authored several books and articles about politics and economics. Some of his works have been translated into a number of different languages. His oft-cited work Kurdistan and the Kurds (1965) has been consensually recognized as a valuable source, especially regarding the political geography of Kurdistan, political history of the Kurds and Kurdistan, as well as traditional socio-economic relations in Kurdish society.

In addition to his status as a prominent scholar and one of the greatest leaders of the Kurds, Dr. Ghassemlou’s excellent diplomatic skills earned him an international reputation, especially in Europe.

Dr. Ghassemlou was elected Secretary-General of the Democratic Party of Iranian Kurdistan (PDKI) in 1973. He was re-elected to lead the party until his death in 1989.

ASSASSINATION
Dr. Ghassemlou was a resolute advocate of the rights of the Kurdish nation and a determined leader. Although Dr. Ghassemlou strived for a just and peaceful resolution of the Kurdish issue, he did regard armed struggle as a legitimate means to defend the integrity of the Kurdish people.

After several months of attempts to persuade the post-revolutionary regime to accept the political demands of the Kurdish national liberation movement, Dr. Ghassemlou eventually realized that the new regime was only interested in buying time in order to rebuild its armed forces with the aim of reoccupying Kurdistan. The reoccupation of Kurdistan marked the beginning of a long and bitter war.

Dr. Ghassemlou had been saying for years that the Islamic Republic of Iran had imposed the war on the Kurdish people. He argued, contrary to the understanding of the Islamic Republic, that the war was not a zero-sum game and that, sooner or later, the Kurdish question would have to be resolved through negotiations and peacefully, and that Kurdish demands should be accommodated within such a framework.

In 1988, Tehran contacted PDKI and proposed negotiations for a solution to the Kurdish issue.

PDKI accepted the offer. Negotiations took place at the end of 1988 and continued in the summer of 1989.

On July 13, the second day of the negotiations in Vienna, Dr. Ghassemlou, Abdullah Ghaderi-Azar, PDKI’s representative in Europe, and Fadhil Rassoul, a Kurdish university professor in Vienna, were assassinated by the Iranian diplomats.

The next day, at about 7:30 p.m., Vienna police discovered the bodies of Dr. Ghassemlou, Ghaderi-Azar and Rassoul. Within hours, the police had recovered the murder weapons, detained two suspects and identified a third.

Austrian authorities sent the two suspects back to Tehran. They were even escorted to Vienna airport under police protection.

Dr. Ghassemlou and Abdullah Ghaderi-Azar were buried in Paris on July 20.

Those who ordered the murder of Dr. Ghassemlou were:

Ali Khamenei, Supreme Leader of Iran (who succeed Ayatollah Khomeini after his death in 1989).

Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani
, who served as President of Iran from 1989 to 1997.

Ali Akbar Velayati, Foreign Minister of Iran from December 1981 to August 1997.

Ali Akbar Fallahiyan, Intelligence Minister from 1984 to 1989, who is on Interpol’s wanted list in connection with the Assassination of Dr. Ghassemlou’s successor, Dr. Sharafkandi.

 

Posted in News, PDKI's, Statements | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Iranian Lawmakers’ Car Ambushed by Gunmen in Kurdish Region

Mr. Falahatpisheh and the others were traveling in a sport utility vehicle near Iran’s border with Iraq, apparently without security forces protecting them. As they were driving near the county of Dalahu, four men fired on their car. The governor …New York Times 

Posted in News | Tagged | Leave a comment

PDKI Deputy Leader: We have always been fighting against the Islamic Republic.

Posted in News, PDKI's, Video | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Saudi prince in push for Iran regime change at Paris opposition conference

Gulf News Report
20:23 July 9, 2016

Dubai: Thousands of Iranian opposition activists descended on the French capital on Saturday to attend one of the biggest anti-regime rallies organised by the Paris-based opposition National Council for Resistance in Iran (NCRI).

The NCRI, one of the two exiled Iranian opposition groups, said the event will “expose the ‘moderate’ Iranian regime for what it really is: a horrific, brutal dictatorship which tortures its own people, destabilises the Middle East and continues to test nuclear weapons in spite of a UN resolution and last year’s nuclear deal”.

The event was attended by a number of Arab and international supporters, including former Algerian prime minister Sid Ahmad Ghozali, former Jordanian information minister Salah Gualleb, former Egyptian foreign minister Mohammad Orabi and Azzam Al Ahmad, a member of the Palestinian Fatah movement.

Among international supporters were former French foreign minister Bernard Kouchner, former Spanish prime minister Joze Luis Zapatero, former US Congress speaker Newt Gingrich, former US ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton and former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani.

One of the main speakers was Saudi prince Turki Al Faisal, chairman of the King Faisal Centre for Research and Islamic Studies and former intelligence chief and diplomat.

Prince Turki chronicled the history of friendship and cooperation between the Arab and Persian peoples, highlighting the cultural, religious and linguistic links they shared. He suggested that the current tensions between Iran and Arab countries was exceptional in a history of otherwise cordial relations, singling out the current regime as being responsible for the tensions due to its continued intereference in Arab affairs.

Prince Turki received more than one standing ovation during his speech and, at one point, members of the audience interrupted his speech to Arabic chants of “the people want the downfall of the regime,” which had become the slogan of the Arab Spring revolutions of 2011. To that, Prince Turki responded: “I, too, want the downfall of the regime”.

A number of people in the audience carried Iraqi and Syrian opposition flags, while others flew pre-1979 Iranian flags featuring a lion and sun.

Concluding his speech, Prince Turki vowed to stand by the Iranian opposition in its efforts to remove what he called the “Khomeini cancer”, referring to the founder of the Islamic Republic, and said that the Iranian opposition’s struggle would go down in history as did the Shahnameh, the Book of Kings by renowned Persian poet Ferdowsi.

Prince Turki paid special tribute to the movement’s “martyrs” as well as its leader Mariam Rajavi and her late husband and former leader Massoud Rajavi for their struggle to bring an end to the Islamist regime in Iran.

Events of the conference were aired live on several Arabic news channels including Saudi Arabia’s Al Arabiya and Al Hadath as well as Abu Dhabi-based Sky News Arabia, and were positioned as top stories on those channels.

The NCRI, also known as the People’s Mujahideen of Iran or by it’s acronym MeK, is classified as a terrorist organisation by the Iranian government, and formerly by the EU, Canada and the US. Western states no longer view the group as a terrorist organisation.

Posted in News | Tagged | Leave a comment

UNPO Roundly Condemns Iranian Military Aggression and Shelling of Civilian Villages in Iranian and Iraqi Kurdistan

UNPO

Brussels, 8 July 2016 – The Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization (UNPO) strongly condemns Iran’s increasing military aggressions in Iranian and Iraqi Kurdistan. After 15 June 2016, the situation in this region has been spiralling out of control as Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) have started shelling civilian villages and inflicting excessive violence on the local population, leaving many of the latter – including children – severely injured and effectively forcing them to flee their homes. 

Clashes between the Democratic Party of Iranian Kurdistan (PDKI)’s Peshmerga Forces and Iran’s IRGC have erupted on 15 June and further escalated into a full-scale war waged by Iran and targeting civilian-populated areas in eastern (Iranian) and southern (Iraqi) Kurdistan.

The Iranian government conducts a harsh policy of human rights suppression towards the Kurdish population, imprisoning, torturing and executing activists linked to the PDKI or other Kurdish organisations. Considering these security concerns, PDKI officials are being escorted by Peshmerga Forces, who are in charge of defending them.

The Iranian regime has recently made threats against PDKI and its bases in southern (Iraqi) Kurdistan, including threatening to target refugee camps in the region. Hossein Salami, Deputy Commander of the IRGC, has threatened to invade southern Kurdistan by launching “tens of thousands of missiles”.

UNPO calls on the Iranian government to immediately put an end to its military aggressions in the Kurdish Iran-Iraq border region. UNPO will press the international community to raise the matter of Iran’s assaults on civilians, and will continue to support democratic opposition groups in their struggle for democracy and national rights.

Posted in News, PDKI's | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Continued clashes between PDKI Peshmerga and IRGC Terror Group, Two Peshmergas Martyred

PDKI

Following ten days of clashes in the Sawlawa region of Mariwan, clashes continued on Tuesday in the village of Boriar. Two of our brave Peshmergas, Kawa Jawanmard and Sarkawt Samadi, fought a large force of Iran’s Islamic revolutionary guards, armed with heavy artillery. Following a heroic battle that lasted for two hours, and in which a number of the Iranian forces were killed, Kawa Jawanmard and Sarkawt Samadi were unfortunately martyred.

From June 25 onward, clashes broke out repeatedly between PDKI’s Peshmerga Forces and Iran’s terrorist Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) outside Mariwan in eastern (Iranian) Kurdistan. The Peshmergas were ambushed numerous times and managed to break through the enemy lines each time they were ambushed. They retreated to the mountainous region of Sawlawa and bravely fought multiple Iranian forces. The Iranian military has used artillery and helicopters in enforcing a military siege of Sawlawa since then.

Two of our Peshmergas, Kawa Jawanmard and Sarkawt Samadi, had managed to leave the mountainous region of Sawlawa. On Tuesday, July 5, they were surrounded outside the village of Boriar. For two hours, the fought bravely against a massive Iranian force armed with heavy weapons.

Having run out of ammunition and in order to avoid a situation where they risked being captured alive by the Iranian forces, Kawa Jawanmard and Sarkawt Samadi took their own lives with their last hand grenades.

Kawa Jawanmard was born in 1978 in the city of Sna (Sanandaj). His father, Najmadin Jawanmard, was a member of PDKI. He was imprisoned and executed for his membership in PDKI.

Kawa Jawanmard became politically active when he was a teenager. He was imprisoned for five years before joining PDKI’s Peshmerga Forces in 2009. He was a gifted and committed member of PDKI and was elected to the leadership of the party in 2012.

Sarkawt Samadi was born in 1980 in the village of Saromali in the Sawlawa region. He joined PDKI’s Peshmerga Forces in 1999. He rose within the ranks of PDKI’s Peshmerga Forces and was in charge of training new Peshmerga recruits in the party’s Political-Military Academy. He was also deputy commander of a Special Forces unit within PDKI’s Peshmerga Forces.

The PDKI’s motte is, as always, that “The best way to pay tribute to our martyrs is to continue their path!”

Posted in News, PDKI's | Tagged , , | Leave a comment