Abdul Rahman Ghassemlou (Kurdish: عەبدولڕەحمان
قاسملوو, translit. Ebdulrehman Qasimlo, Persian:
عبدالرحمان قاسملو; 22 December 1930 – 13 July
1989) was a Kurdish political leader. Ghassemlou was the leader of the
Kurdistan Democratic Party of
Iran (KDPI) from 1973 until his
assassination in 1989 by individuals suspected of being agents of the
Islamic Republic of Iran.
1 Early life and education
Assassination and funerals
Early life and education
Born in Urmia, West Azerbaijan,
Iran to a wealthy feudal family, his
father was Mohammad Vesugh Ghassemlou, a landowning Kurdish
nationalist Agha and Khan from the
Shekak tribe who was born in 1875.
His mother was Nana Jan Timsar, also known as Fatima, was an Assyrian
Christian. His father was an adviser to the Shah of Iran, who gave him
the title "Wussuq-e Divan." He completed his early education in Urmia
and then on Tehran. He witnessed the era of the Republic of Mahabad
and became a co-founder member of the youth wing of
KDP-I at the age
of 15. Ghassemlou moved to
France to continue his studies at the
Sorbonne. He meet his wife Helen Krulich in Czechoslovakia. They had
two daughters together, Mina (1953) and Hewa (1955).
Abd-al-Raḥmān Qāsemlu was fluent in 8 languages Kurdish, Persian,
Arabic, Azerbaijani, French, English, Czech, and Russian. He was also
familiar with German.
Ghassemlou went back to
Kurdistan in 1952 after completing his
studies. He then spent several years as an active militant in the
Kurdish military fields. In 1973, during the Third
Congress of the PDKI, he was elected to the position of secretary
general of the party, a position to which he was reelected several
times until his assassination.
In 1979, his party supported the revolution which ended in the fall of
Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi.
Khomeini considered their last hour
participation in the revolution as opportunistic. Militants belonging
to the party had overtaken the military compounds in the Kurdish
Khomeini demanded all armed groups to become part of one
revolutionary organization and demanded Kurdish militants to return
their weapons. Ghasemlou demanded autonomy for Kurds and refused to
lay down weapons. The party boycotted the referendum for the new
constitution which was adopted by overwhelming majority. Following two
bloody confrontation between Kurds and forces loyal to
Kurdish rebellion turned into a war. Shortly, after the beginning of
the armed Kurdish rebellion, Ayatollah
Khomeini declared a "holy war"
PDKI and Kurdish rebels. This was the start of confrontation of
the party and the new regime, which ended in a military defeat of the
Kurdish rebels and political suppression of the Kurdish nationalist
parties by the central government. Thousands of
executions happened in
Kurdistan during the rebellion. The armed
conflict continued up to 1984 in the middle of Iran-Iraq war
(1980–1988) where both countries supported the separatists in each
After the defeat of the armed rebellion Ghassemlou settled in Paris
and joined the National Council of Resistance of
Iran that was founded
PDKI and other opposition forces: the Islamist-Marxist People's
Mujahedin, the liberal-leftist National Democratic Front, the United
Left of small socialist groupings, and the independent
Islamist-leftist Abolhassan Bani Sadr, in October 1981.
Kurdistan and Kurd" is a book on the history of Kurds and their land
written by Ghassemlou and published in 1964 in Slovaki, 1965 in
English, 1967 in Arabic, 1969 in Polish, and 1973 in Kurdish.
Assassination and funerals
Further information: List of Iranian assassinations
In 1988, after the war had ended, the Iranian government decided to
meet with him. Several meetings followed in Vienna, on 28 December, 30
December and 20 January 1989. Another meeting was set up for 13 July,
again in Vienna.
Tehran delegation was as before, namely Mohammed Jafar Sahraroudi
and Hadji Moustafawi, except that this time there was also a third
member: Amir Mansur Bozorgian who was a bodyguard. The Kurds also had
a three-man delegation: Abdul Rahman Ghassemlou, his aide Abdullah
Ghaderi Azar (a member of the
PDKI Central Committee) and Fadhil
Rassoul, an Iraqi university professor who had acted as a mediator.
The next day, 13 July 1989, in the very room where the negotiation
took place, Ghassemlou was killed by three bullets fired at very close
range. His assistant Ghaderi Azar was hit by eleven bullets and
Rassoul by five. Hadji Moustafawi succeeded in escaping. Mohammad
Jafar Sahraroudi received minor injuries and was taken to hospital,
questioned and allowed to go. Amir Mansur Bozorgian was released after
24 hours in police custody and took refuge in the Iranian Embassy.
His deputy, Sadegh Sharafkandi, succeeded Ghassemlou as secretary
general until his assassination on 17 September 1992 in Mykonos
restaurant in Berlin, Germany. Abdullah Ghaderi Azar and Abdul Rahman
Ghassemlou were buried on July 20 in
Paris at Père Lachaise Cemetery.
According to PDKI
In late November 1989 the Austrian courts issued a warrant for the
arrest of the three Iranian representatives and the Austrian
Government expressly accused the Iranian Government as having
instigated the attack on
Abdul Rahman Ghassemlou and the two other
The three Iranian representatives in the negotiations with the Kurdish
leaders returned to
Iran freely. One of them had never been in
custody, one was escorted by Austrian police to the
nine days after the assassination, and the third, after one night of
arrest, spent a few months in the Iranian embassy in
Vienna before he
disappeared from Austria. One of the suspects was Mohamed Magaby, whom
the Kurdish protesters in
Vienna requested to be arrested and be put
under travel ban. Warrants for their arrest were not issued until
November 1989. The warrants have never been executed. Unlike the
German Mykonos trial for the assassination of Ghassemlou's successor
Sadegh Sharafkandi in Berlin, the assassination in
Vienna was never
clarified by any court. The Mykonos verdict of 1 April 1997 put the
responsibility on the Iranian government of the time for the murders
Berlin and in Vienna.
^ "The 1979 Assembly of Experts for the Drafting of the Constitution
Iran Social Science Data Portal, Princeton University,
retrieved 10 August 2015
^ "Dr Abdul Rahman Ghassemlou". Sara Distribution. Retrieved 1
^ Carol Prunhuber (26 May 2010). "I wrote the book to denounce the
assassination by the Iranian regime and the complicity of the Austrian
authorities". London, House of Lords. London, House of Lords. Archived
from the original on 12 December 2013. Retrieved 1 February
^ Prunhuber, Carol (2010). The Passion and Death of Rahman the Kurd:
Dreaming Kurdistan. iUniverse. ISBN 9781440178160. Retrieved 1
^ Sreberny-Mohammadi, Annabelle; Ali Mohammadi (January 1987).
"Post-Revolutionary Iranian Exiles: A Study in Impotence". Third World
Quarterly. 9 (1): 108–129. doi:10.1080/01436598708419964.
^ Ghassemlou, D. Abdul R. (2006).
Kurdistan and Kurd (Kurdish ed.).
Erbil: Rojhalat. p. 349.
^ Dan Geist (6 August 2011). "'A Darker Horizon': The
Shapour Bakhtiar". PBS. Retrieved 19 May 2016.
Archived from the original on 19 August 2011. Retrieved 27 May
2011. Missing or empty title= (help)
Archived from the original on 11 March 2011. Retrieved 25 June
2011. Missing or empty title= (help)
^ Roya Hakakian (4 October 2007). "The End of the Dispensable
Iranian". Spiegel Online International. Retrieved 1 January
Party political offices
Secretary-General of the Democratic Party of Iranian Kurdistan
ISNI: 0000 0001 0924 2629