The 26th Anniversary of the Assassination of Dr. Sadegh Sharafkandi
Today marks the 26th anniversary of the assassination of Dr. Sadegh Sharafkandi, former leader of the Democratic Party of Iranian Kurdistan, Fatah Abdoli and Homayoun Ardalan – the party’s representatives in Europe and Germany, respectively – and Nouri Dehkordi, a friend of PDKI.
Iranian terrorists in cooperation with assassins from the Lebanese terrorist organization Hezbollah assassinated Dr. Sharafkandi, Abdoli, Ardalan and Dehkordi in Berlin on September 17, 1992.
German authorities arrested some of the terrorists and put them on trial. Years later, the terrorists were sentenced to prison. In March 1996, Chief Federal Prosecutor Kay Nehm issued an international arrest warrant for Ali Fallahian, former Iranian minister of intelligence. The German court verdict on April 10, 1997, implicated the top Iranian leadership –the supreme leader, Ali Khamenei; the president at the time, Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani; and the foreign minister, Ali Velayati – as those who had ordered the assassination of Dr. Sharafkandi.
Dr. Sharafkandi was in Berlin to attend the 15th Congress of the Socialist International on September 15-17, 1992. On the evening of September 17, Dr. Sharafkandi met with members of the Iranian opposition in the Mykonos Restaurant in the Wilmersdorf district of Berlin.
Mona Sahlin, former leader of the Swedish Social Democratic Party, told the Swedish daily Expressen that Dr. Sharafkandi had invited former Prime Minister Ingvar Carlsson and herself to the dinner.
“We had planned to discuss continued cooperation [between PDKI and the Swedish Social Democratic Party] at the dinner,” Sahlin told Expressen. However, Prime Minister Carl Bildt had just hours before the dinner called Ingvar Carlsson and urged him to return to Sweden to deal with the severe financial crisis in the country.
Mona Sahlin believes that if they had attended the dinner, the Iranian agents would have killed them too. “This is an evil regime,” Sahlin said of the Iranian regime during an event commemorating the assassination of Sharafkandi in Stockholm on September 17, 2012. “[The Iranian regime] poses a threat to the Kurds and to the peace in the Middle East today as it did then,” she averred.
The Iranian intelligence agency had infiltrated one of the Iranian opposition groups and recruited one of their members. The mole had disclosed information about the meeting between Dr. Sharafkandi and Iranian opposition figures in Berlin. The mole later returned to Iran and was rewarded by the clerical regime.
Unlike the Austrian authorities, who released the Iranian diplomats-cum-terrorists that assassinated Dr. Ghassemlou, the predecessor of Dr. Sharafkandi, the German authorities acted courageously and did not succumb to the threats by the Iranian regime against German security and citizens.
The investigation into the murders and the trial lasted for three and a half years. The court heard 176 witnesses, among them former Iranian president Abdolhassan Banisadr who testified that the murders had been personally ordered by Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran’s Supreme Leader, and former president Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani.
Analysts and security officials believe that the ruling of the German court, which held the top leadership of the Iranian regime responsible for the assassination of Dr. Sharafkandi and Dr. Ghassemlou, deterred the regime in Tehran from conducting further terrorist attacks against Kurdish leaders and Iranian dissidents on European soil.
Equally important was the decision by all the members of the European Union to recall their ambassadors from Iran to protest the assassination of Dr. Sharafkandi and the other PDKI officials.
Sadegh Sharafkandi (alias Dr. Said) was born in Taragha, a village in the Bokan region of eastern Kurdistan, on January 11, 1938. He received his primary education in Kurdistan and attended university in Tehran, where he earned a degree in chemistry.
Sharafkandi received a scholarship for postgraduate studies at the University of Paris VI, France, where he completed his PhD in analytical chemistry in 1976.
In Paris, Sharafkandi and the Kurdish leader Dr. Ghassemlou became friends. While pursuing his PhD studies in Paris, Sharafkandi decided to join the PDKI.
Following the revolution of 1979, Dr. Sharafkandi rose through the ranks of PDKI. Before the post-revolutionary Islamist regime in Iran banned PDKI, Dr. Sharafkandi was the party’s representative in Tehran.
Following the breakout of war and PDKI’s decision to wage armed resistance to defend the Kurdish people against Iranian aggression, Dr. Sharafkandi was given new tasks. He took charge of the party’s media department.
Dr. Sharafkandi was also an esteemed lecturer in the military academy of the party in the 1980s. During those years when PDKI was embroiled in a war with the Islamic Republic of Iran, Sharafkandi, notwithstanding his heavy commitments, managed to write an important book on the history of Kurdish liberation movements in the different parts of Kurdistan.
Eventually, Dr. Sharafkandi became the deputy secretary general of PDKI and was elected to lead the party following the assassination of Dr. Ghassemlou in 1989.
Dr. Sharafkandi enjoyed the support and admiration of the Peshmerga Forces of Kurdistan. He was a firm and esteemed leader.
Dr. Sharafkandi was married and the father of three children.
Aside from Kurdish, Dr. Sharafkandi spoke Persian, Arabic, Turkish and French. He enjoyed Kurdish poetry and was well-versed in European culture.