Democratic Party of Iranian Kurdistan
|Founded||16 August 1945|
|Split from||Tudeh Party of Iran|
|International affiliation||Socialist International (Consultative member)|
Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization
|Slogan||"Democracy for Iran, Autonomy for Kurdistan"|
|Leaders||Mustafa Barzani (1940s)|
|Dates of operation|
|Active regions||Iraqi Kurdistan; Kurdistan and West Azerbaijan Provinces in Iran|
The Democratic Party of Iranian Kurdistan (PDKI; Kurdish: پارتی دێموکراتی کوردستانی ئێران, romanized: Hîzbî Dêmukratî Kurdistanî Êran, HDKA; Persian: حزب دموکرات کردستان ایران, romanized: Ḥezb-e Demokrāt-e Kordestān-e Īrān), also known as the Kurdish Democratic Party of Iran (KDPI), is an armed leftist ethnic party of Kurds in Iran, exiled in northern Iraq. It is banned in Iran and thus not able to operate openly.
Since 1979, KDPI has waged a persistent guerrilla war against the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran. This included the 1979–1983 Kurdish insurgency, its 1989–1996 insurgency and recent clashes in 2016.
Hyeran Jo of Texas A&M University classifies KDPI as "compliant rebels", i.e. rebels that kill fewer than 100 and refrain from killing for more than half of their operating years. According to Jo, in order to gain domestic and international legitimacy, the KDPI denounces violence against civilians, claiming commitment to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and Geneva Convention Article 3, and as of 2007 is one of the signatories to the Geneva Call's ban on anti-personnel mines.
Qazi Muhammad founded the PDKI in Mahabad, Iran, on 16 August 1945. On 22 January 1946, Qazi Muhammad declared a Kurdish Republic of Kurdistan, of which he formally became president. The Republic lasted less than a year: after the USSR retreated from the area, the Imperial Iranian army first reclaimed Iranian Azerbaijan, followed by Mahabad on 15 December 1946. After the fall of the Republic, many of the PDKI leaders were arrested and executed, effectively ending the party.
Against the Shah
The PDKI cooperated with the Tudeh party and saw a short revival under the anti-Shah administration of Mohammad Mosaddegh (1951–53), but this ended after Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi took full control again in the 1953 Iranian coup d'état. In 1958, the PDKI was on the verge of unifying with the Iraqi Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP), but was then dismantled by the SAVAK secret police. The remains of the PDKI continued to support the KDP, but this changed as the Shah started aiding the KDP, which fought against the Iraqi regime that had overthrown the royal Hashemite dynasty. In return for the Shah's aid, the KDP decreased its support for the PDKI.
The PDKI reorganised itself, marginalising its pro-KDP leader Abd-Allah Ishaqi (also known as Ahmad Tawfiq), adding new communist and nationalist members, and forming the Revolutionary Committee to continue the struggle against the Iranian regime. The Committee began an unsuccessful revolution in March 1967, ending after 18 months.
After reforms by a new leader, Abdul Rahman Ghassemlou, the PDKI fought alongside Islamic and Marxist movements against the Shah, culminating in the 1979 Iranian Revolution. Khomeini's new Islamic Republic, however, refused the Kurdish demands, suppressing the PDKI and other Kurdish parties. The PDKI continued its activities in exile, hoping to achieve "Kurdish national rights within a democratic federal republic of Iran".
Against the Islamic Republic
In January 1981, Iraq supported the party in the Iranian cities of Nowdesheh and Qasr-e Shirin and provided weapons supplies to the PKDI. This move was made so as the party stops Tehran from using the Tehran-Baghdad highway. The PKDI hoped as well to establish a level of autonomy in the area. However, the Iranian forces staged a series of debilitating attacks against the KDPI, leaving them a "marginal military factor during much of the Iran-Iraq War".
In 1997, the party's call for abstaining the presidential election remained largely ignored by Kurdish citizens in Iran and amid a high turnout in Kurdistan Province, a large number voted for Mohammad Khatami.
By 2004, Seymour Hersh in the June 28, 2004 issue of the New Yorker magazine reported that Israel has started The highest PDKI organ is the Central Committee, composed of 21 permanent and 10 substitute members, elected in PDKI Congresses. The Central Committee elects 7 of its members for the executive Political Bureau, which also includes the Secretary-General. The current Secretary-General is Mustafa Hijri.
Mykonos restaurant assassinations
Sadeq Sharafkandi's murder became an international incident between Germany and Iran. On 17 September 1992, PDKI leaders Sadegh Sharafkandi, Fattah Abdoli, Homayoun Ardalan and their translator Nouri Dehkordi were assassinated at the Mykonos Greek restaurant in Berlin, Germany. In the Mykonos trial, the courts found Kazem Darabi, an Iranian national who worked as a grocer in Berlin, and Lebanese Abbas Rhayel, guilty of murder and sentenced them to life in prison. Two other Lebanese, Youssef Amin and Mohamed Atris, were convicted of being accessories to murder. In its 10 April 1997 ruling, the court issued an international arrest warrant for Iranian intelligence minister Hojjat al-Islam Ali Fallahian after declaring that the assassination had been ordered by him with knowledge of Grand Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and President Ayatollah Rafsanjani.
On 13 July 1989, Dr. Gassemlo arrived in Vienna with his delegation to have talks with diplomats, dispatched by Iran, regarding the terms of reconciliation between the central government in Teheran and the Kurds. Those were not the only talks with Iran, held in Vienna. After they entered the conference hall and the talks started, the Iranian “diplomats” took out automatic weapons and murdered all of the members of the Kurdish delegation, including Dr. Gassemlo.
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The PDKI has held sixteen congresses. These occurred in 1945, 1964, 1971, 1980, 1982, 1984, 1985, 1988, 1992, 1995, 1997, 2000, 2004, 2008, 2012, 2018.
During the 20th Congress of the Socialist International, held at the headquarters of the United Nations in New York City (9–11 September 1996), the PDKI was given the status of observer member. In 2005, the PDKI's membership was elevated to consultative status.
- Qazi Muhammad (1945–1947)
- Ahmad Tofiq (1947–1973)
- Abdul Rahman Ghassemlou (1973–1989)
- Sadegh Sharafkandi (1989–1992)
- Abdullah Hasanzadeh (1993–2004)
- Mustafa Hijri (2004–)
The military wing of the PDKI is named PDKI Pershmerga.
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The KDPI (which had moved to the left in the meantime) adopted an anti-imperialist position, declaring their opposition to the Shah's regime...
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For example, the Soviet Union supported the Democratic Party of Iranian Kurdistan (KDPI), first against the shah's regime in Iran and then against the religious revolutionary regime. Throughout the Cold War period, the Soviet funds were regularly channeled to the KDPI.
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Throughout much of the 1980s, the KDPI received aid from the Ba'thi regime of Saddam Hussein, but Ghassemlou broke with Baghdad in 1988 after Iraq used chemical weapons against Kurds in Halabja and then forced Kurdish villagers to...
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From 1993 to 1995, Ankara was willing to use its support of the KDPI as a lever to prevent Iran from supporting the PKK
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Morteza Esfandiari, the KDPI representative in the U.S., told me that KDPI had applied to get some of the 85 million dollars allocated to "promote democracy" in Iran in order to improve its satellite TV station. "We are friends with the United States. What other friends can we find in the world, other than the United States?"
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The Iraqi PUK and Iranian KDPI have often assisted each other, and roughly 5,000 Kurdish volunteers from Turkey went to Iran to fight Khomeini's government forces in 1979.
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The KDPI and Komala agreed to cooperate in late 1982 and enjoyed two years of military success, but when they split...
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Moreover, in August 2012, the KDPI and the Komala, now led by Abdullah Mohtadi, reached a strategic agreement calling for federalism in Iran to undo the national oppression suffered by the Kurds.
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During the late 1940s and the early 1950s, the Kurdistan Democratic Party of Iran (KDPI) cooperated closely with the Tudeh, or Iranian Communist Party.
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Between 1984 and 1991, the KDPI and Komala fought each other vigorously.
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