Ghassemlou the Kurd and Iran’s bloody diplomacy

The terror of Ghassemlou and his colleagues and hundreds of other members of the Iranian opposition encompass important lessons and revelations about the current climate of tension.

July 20, 2019 21:08
3 minute read.
A Syrian Kurd refugee in Iraq

A Syrian Kurd refugee in Iraq 300. (photo credit: Azad Lashkari/Reuters)

Amid rising tension between the United States and Iran, today marks a bloody day on the diplomatic calendar of the Islamic regime of Iran, but a mournful one for the Kurds of Iran and indeed Kurds around the world.

At a time when the US and Europe struggle to bring the Islamic regime to its senses and negotiate on an array of pressing issues, it is important to note how the Kurds being led by a visionary, tactful and diplomatic leader. Abdul Rahman Ghassemlou brought the Islamic regime of Iran to the tables of negotiation.

Ghassemlou’s slogan had been “Federalism for Iran, autonomy for Kurdistan.” In other words, he struggled for a decentralized and a federally democratic Iran not just to secure the rights of the Kurds in Iran but also of the many other national communities that make Iran an ethno-cultural mosaic.

Secret tapes of the Vienna meeting obtained by BBC Persian reveals Ghassemlou’s vision for a genuinely democratic Iran. During the meeting, Ghassemlou states to the Iranian delegates who advise him to focus on the right of the Kurds only that in order for Iran to become a legitimate democratic system it must guarantee the rights of all other nationalities in Iran.

On this day in 1989, three Kurdish diplomats met in the Austrian Capital Vienna with Iranian representatives to negotiate a peaceful resolution to the Kurdish question in Iran, but what unfolded was something resembling a bloody scene out of HBO’s Game of Thrones. General Secretary of the Democratic Party of Iranian Kurdistan (PDKI) Abdul Rahman Ghassemlou; Abdulla Qaderi Azar, head of PDKI’s international relations; and Kurdish Iraqi professor Dr. Fazil Rasouell as mediator met with three Iranian delegates who opened fire on them in close range at the very table where peace was to be negotiated.

The terror of Ghassemlou and his colleagues and hundreds of other members of the Iranian opposition encompass important lessons and revelations about the current climate of tension between Iran and the US and the role of the Europeans.

The fact that the Kurdish diplomats were gunned down in cold blood in a European capital, despite meeting to find a peaceful resolution, is a clear indicator that the regime in Iran is not interested in peace and is unlikely to negotiate on the nuclear issue or any other issue with the US. It is also a clear indictment of the kind of bloody diplomacy that the Iranian regime has been carrying out since its inception.

Additionally, the location where the assassination unfolded and the disappointing response from Austrian authorities to the terrorist case is quite telling of the failure of European countries to confront Iran and respond to its terrorist activities. The Austrians allowed the perpetrators to escape back to Iran even though they had one of them in police custody. Some 30 years has passed and justice has yet to be served despite clear evidence that the perpetrators and those who ordered the hit reach the highest level of the Islamic regime of Iran.

At the recent Bahrain conference on the peace and prosperity plan to help resolve the Israel-Palestine conflict, Former UK PM Tony Blair explained that while an economic plan can help in resolving the conflict, it cannot succeed without a political solution. A similar logic is evident in the case of dealing with the regime in Iran. Iran can only expect the easing of economic pressure from the US if it is willing to make concessions politically. Iran’s bloody diplomacy in the assassination of Ghassemlou and his colleagues illustrates that Iran under this regime would rather choose war than to negotiate on any of its domestic or regional policies.

Ghessemlou’s vision for Iran remains the only viable solution to building a democratic and peaceful Iran. Ghassemlou was essentially an advocate of Kant’s democratic peace theory. He held a Kantian vision of a confederation system in the Middle East that would be beneficial to the Kurds and other nations in the region. It could also transform Iran into a major democratic force in the region. This new Iran would not only command respect and status internationally but also become a highly influential central power in a confederated system spanning the entire Middle East and possibly even including Israel and its current Arab foes.

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