Why Iran could be behind Paris killings

Why Iran could be behind Paris killings
17 Jan

Mardin deputy of the pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party Ahmet Türk pointed to Iran as a possible culprit in killings of the three Kurdish women last week.

Mardin deputy of the pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) Ahmet Türk has said Iran could be behind the recent killings of three PKK-linked Kurdish women in Paris.

Speaking to reporters on Tuesday, Türk, who also met with the leader of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) as part of peace talks to end the perennial conflict between Turkish authorities and PKK, pointed to Iran as a possible culprit in killings of the three Kurdish women last week.

“I don’t think this time it is the [Turkish] state,” Türk was quoted by Habertürk daily as saying. He added that the perpetrators could be international forces that don’t want to see Turkey become a lone international power in the region.

“Finding a solution to the Kurdish issue would make Turkey the sole power in the region. For this reason, Iran could be the one responsible [for the killings]. It happened before too,” Türk claimed.

The deputy said he is not speaking based on evidence but is just speculating.

In a televised interview earlier this week, Türk said that during their talks Öcalan warned of Iran’s negative role in the peace process.

Iran has dismissed accusations of involvement in the recent killing of three Kurdish activists in Paris to derail peace talks between Turkey and the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

The U.S. State Department considers Iran the world’s “most active state sponsor of terrorism.” U.S. officials say Iran provides funding, weapons, training, and sanctuary to numerous terrorist groups–most notably in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Lebanon–posing a security concern to the international community.


Why Iran?

Council of Foreign Relations lists Iran’s alleged activities as the following:

– Observers say Iran had prior knowledge of Hezbollah attacks, such as the 1988 kidnapping and murder of Colonel William Higgins, a U.S. Marine involved in a UN observer mission in Lebanon, and the 1992 and 1994 bombings of Jewish cultural institutions in Argentina.

– Iran still has a price on the head of the Indian-born British novelist Salman Rushdie for what Iranian leaders call blasphemous writings about Islam in his 1989 novel The Satanic Verses.

– U.S. officials say Iran supported the group behind the 1996 truck bombing of Khobar Towers, a U.S. military residence in Saudi Arabia, which killed nineteen U.S. servicemen.

– Military officials say numerous attacks since 2001 on U.S. and NATO troops in Afghanistan, and coalition forces in Iraq, have been attributed to Iranian-made weapons.

– A set of classified documents leaked by the website WikiLeaks.org in July 2010 reports extensive collaboration between Iran and the Taliban, Afghan warlords, and al-Qaeda, but all the claims have not been corroborated (Guardian).

– Iran has also been blamed for attacks in Balochistan in Pakistan.

According to IHRDC, Since 1979, high-level officials of the Islamic Republic of Iran, particularly those associated with the Ministry of Intelligence and Revolutionary Guards, have been linked to the assassinations of at least 162 of the regime’s political opponents around the world including Dr. A. R. Ghassemlou (1989 Vienna) the General Secretary of Democratic Party of Iranian Kurdistan, Shapour Bakhtiar (1991 Paris), Iran’ s last prime minister before the revolution of 1979 and Dr. Sadegh Sharafkandi (1992 Berlin) Ghassemlou’s successor.

Also Guardian’s Con Coughlin reported Iran’s Supreme Leader has ordered the country’s Revolutionary Guards to intensify its campaign of terror attacks against the West and its allies in retaliation for supporting the overthrow of President Bashar al-Assad in Syria.

– In April 2011, the United States and the European Union accused the Quds Force of providing equipment and support to help the Syrian regime suppress revolts in Syria.

– In October 2011, Washington accused the Quds Force of plotting to assassinate the Saudi ambassador (NYT) to the United States, and plotting to bomb the Israeli Embassy in Washington and the Saudi and Israeli Embassies in Argentina.

-Six people were killed in a bomb attack on a bus carrying Israeli tourists at a Bulgarian airport on Wednesday and Israel accused Tehran of carrying out the attack.

-Iranian were suspected in a series of bomb blasts in BulgariaThailand, India, Georgia against Israeli tourists and installations.


Why Kurds from Turkey?

Iran and Turkey have absolutely different positions on regional issues, particularly on Syria. Ankara is for overthrowing Bashar al-Assad’s government and supports armed opposition groups in Syria while Iran sees Damascus is Iran’s most important regional ally, and the survival of the Assad regime is regarded as vital to maintaining its clout in the Arab world and sustaining the Iranian-backed Hizbollah militia which controls southern Lebanon.

The extent of Iran’s support for the Assad regime was exposed when 48 Iranians, mostly senior Revolutionary Guards commanders  were captured by Syrian opposition fighters and were later released in a prisoner swap deal.

The Kurdistan Workers’ Party or PKK attacks against Turkish targets have escalated drastically in the last year since the unrest began in Syria two years ago, a tactical move criticized by the jailed PKK leader, Abdullah Ocalan.  There are reports that Iran has been providing logistics and money to the PKK to intensify attacks on Turkey.

There also strong indication that the Assad regime forces, with orders from Iran, left the security of the Syrian Kurdish areas to the PKK off-shoot party in Syria, Democratic Union Party, PYD.   According to Guardian’s Luke Harding, Assad seems to have made a strategic calculation. The PYD is closely allied to the outlawed Turkish militant group the PKK, which has been battling Ankara for decades.

Following the start of the official talks between the Turkish state and Ocalan, aside from discussing basic rights for the Turkey’s Kurdish population, PKK disarmament was also discussed and apparently agreed upon.

Iran and Syria consider the end of PKK and Turkish conflict as an end to PKK card in Iranian and Syrian hands against Turkey at this volatile moments, and certainly an end to PKK’s meddling in the affairs of Syria and Iran through its proxy groups PYD and PJAK.

Therefore, the Iranian regime through its proxy Hezbollah or even pro-Iran PKK elements could be behind the assassination as Ahmet Türk has claimed to derail peace talks between Turkey and the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).


By Sharif Behruz

with files from agencies

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