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Op-Ed: Iranian state terrorism cuts across borders and regions

Kurdish national liberation movement activist Kajal Mohammadi stresses that the international community needs to stand up to the Iranian terrorism in the world and support the plight of the Kurdish people striving to bring democracy, equality and human rights to Iran.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani Photo Credit: EPA

The Islamic Republic of Iran is known as the world’s largest state sponsor of terrorism. The regime is responsible for mass violence and destruction through its support of multiple terrorist entities including the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps–Quds Force, Hezbollah, Hamas and the Taliban. These terrorist entities carry out terrorist activities in the Middle East and beyond. Amongst these activities include the assassination of political and social dissidents in Europe, along with the kidnapping and torture of foreign diplomats.

Iran has assassinated more than 300 Kurdish politicians and political activists outside of Iran’s borders including the former secretaries general of the Democratic Party of Iranian Kurdistan (PDKI, assassinations that took place in Vienna, Austria, in 1989 and in Berlin, Germany, in 1992.

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Following the death of then-Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khomeini in 1989 and the 8-year war between Iraq and Iran, the Islamic regime, under the leadership of Ayatollah Sayyid Ali Khamenei and then-President Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, expressed a willingness to meet with the PDKI’s leadership in order to reach a peaceful solution to the Kurdish question. The Kurdish delegation headed by Dr. Abdul Rahman Qasimlou, the former secretary-general of PDKI, along with two others met with the “supposed” Iranian diplomats Mohammad Jaafar Sahraroudi, Amir Mansour Bozorgian and Hadji Moustafawi on July 13, 1989. The Iranian diplomats assassinated the Kurdish delegates and were later released and escorted back to Tehran by Austrian police.

Three years later, Dr. Qasimlou’s successor, Dr. Said Sharafkandi, along with three others were also assassinated by agents of the regime in the Mykonos Greek Restaurant located on Prager Strasse in Berlin, Germany. Aziz Ghaffari, the owner of the restaurant was also wounded. Dr. Sharafkandi had been in Europe to attend the International Socialist’s (IS) congress and was set to meet with the Swedish Prime Minister and leader of the Swedish Social Democratic Party, Ingvar Carlsson, along with Mona Sahlin, the secretary of the Social Democratic Party and Pierre Schori, the former Swedish State Secretary for Foreign Affairs on the day of the assassination. The meeting never happened because Carlsson had to return to Sweden due to an urgent economic crisis in the country.

The German legal system and court, unlike the Austrian government, tried the assassins in an open and transparent court and found that the assassination was authorized and planned for by the Islamic Republic of Iran’s Special Affairs Committee founded by Khomeini. The committee was founded for the purpose of intimidating and eliminating the opposition leaders inside and outside the country. When Khomeini died, his successor Khamenei took over the committee and continued the elimination of the opposition leaders and opponents.

In the aftermath of the assassination of Dr. Qasimlou and his colleagues, the Specials Affairs Committee organized another group under the supervision of Khamenei and Rafsanjani, along with then Minister of Intelligence Hojjatoleslam Ali Fallahian and Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Velayati. Fallahian put Abdol-Rahman Banihashemi in charge of the Mykonos team. He recruited a local Iranian grocer named Kazem Darabi. Darabi then recruited four Lebanese nationals: Youssef Mohamad El-Sayed Amin, Abbas Hossein Rhayel, Mohammad Atris, and Ataollah Ayad, known to him through their associations with Hezbollah.

The Mykonos trial, which lasted three and a half years, held a total of 246 sessions and heard from 176 witnesses along with hearing the testimony of a former senior intelligence officer of the Iranian Ministry of Intelligence, along with tapes, files and documents. Iran’s ex-president Abdol Hassan Bani Sadr, who left the country in the early 1980s, also testified that Khamenei and Rafsanjani had personally ordered the assassination. Rhayel and Darabi were sentenced to life in prison but were released from prison, and deported back to their respective countries in 2007 despite domestic and international protest.

The court concluded that the assassination was authorized under the leadership of the Iranian regime and that the regime was “directly involved.” Iranian officials, however, have denied their involvement in the incident and went as far as saying that the ruling was political, untrue and unsubstantiated. The ruling led to a diplomatic crisis between the Iranian regime and several European countries, which lasted about a year.

The Iranian regime has a long history of violence, destruction and terrorism in the country, region and beyond. The Iranian regime is a threat to everything that we in the West and in the free world stand and strive for. The regime calls for the destruction of people and countries on a weekly basis and is engaged in sponsoring terrorist organizations and bodies in the region and beyond. It is heavily involved in terrorist activities in Iraq, Syria, Yemen and other countries in the region. The West must recognize and realize the dangerous nature of this terrorist regime and support those on the ground fighting for the realization of democracy, equality, human rights, social justice and women’s rights.

We call on the international superpowers and countries to rise and finally realize the dangerous nature of this terrorist regime and the threat it poses to world peace and security. We further call on the international community to support the plight of the Kurdish people and the diverse nationalities in Iran for democracy, equality and human rights. The outcome of this support will bring about a more secular and democratic country and region where everyone can live in peace and prosperity. The outcome of this support will lead to a more peaceful, secular and stable country and region along with the establishment of a free and democratic society.



JOL Blogger | Kajal Mohammadi

Kajal Mohammadi is a Kurd from East (Rojhelat) Kurdistan (Kurdistan under Iranian occupation). Her family, along with thousands of other Rojhelati Kurds, was forcefully dislodged from their towns and villages in Rojhalat because of the Islamic Republic of Iran’s Supreme Leader Grand Ayatollah Khomeni 1979 Jihad and onslaught on the Kurds; and the subsequent 1980-88 Iran-Iraq War. She was born in a refugee camp known as Altash Camp in Romadi, located in Western Iraq. She completed my elementary schooling in the camp and relocated to Canada through the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) in 2002. She completed her secondary and post-secondary education in Canada. She is a first year PhD student and is a strong advocate of the Kurdish national liberation movement across occupied Kurdistan.

She is especially involved and interested in the East Kurdistan’s renewed resistance movement; and is of the strong believe that the international community and world powers need to support the Kurds in their struggle for democracy, equality and human rights against the terrorist Iranian regime.


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