File photo shows Qadir Qairi, commander of the Iranian Deocratic Party, speaking to Rudaw. Photo: Rudaw TV
SULAIMANI, Kurdistan Region — A commander of a Kurdish party opposed to the Iranian government was found dead on Wednesday in a village of the Kurdistan Region near the Iranian border. His party says he was "assassinated.”
Qadir Qadiri, the deceased Peshmerga, was a commander of the Kurdistan Democratic Party-Iran.
Ibrahim Zewayee, the head of the PDK foreign office, told Rudaw that they found Qadiri’s body in Hartal village, located in Raniya district of Sulaimani province, about 79 kilometers east of Erbil city.
They have opened an investigation, Zewayee added.
Qubad Talabani, deputy KRG prime minister, extended his condolences the family and relatives of Qadir Qadiri, as well as the party. He pledged his government would pursue the matter.
"We as the Kurdistan Regional Government ensure you that we have assigned all security units to arrest the perpetrators as soon as possible and hand them to court so that they are legally prosecuted,” he stated.
The party revealed in a statement that the commander was on a visit to the “Balisan-Chwarqurna front,” on Tuesday night with his personal car.
The commander was taken out of his car, and shot 20 times, the statement detailed.
“We hold the Islamic Republic of Iran and its mercenaries responsible for the assassination of our brave comrade,” the party said, adding that they see it as a continuation of a series of “terrorist acts,” carried out against Kurdish parties opposed to Iran.
Raniya police said that they found the body in a “grave yard” in Hartal shot 21 times with a Kalashnikov weapon. They identified him as an Iranian citizen and a PDK commander.
The police said that they retrieved the Kalashnikov that was left at the crime scene, adding that they have opened an investigation into the incident with the approval of a judge.
He resided in Koya where Kurdish armed groups from Iran are headquartered.
The party lost five members in a bombing in December 2016 that they blamed on Iran. A court in Erbil ruled on March 1 to release three suspects of the bombing
after investigators failed to provide evidence that they were involved.
If the “assassination” allegation is confirmed, it would become the second such targeting of Iranian Kurdish parties in one week.
On March 1, a bomb attack targeted two Peshmerga fighters of the Democratic Party of Iranian Kurdistan (PDKI) in Bnaslawa. One of them lost his life
Most of the opposition Kurdish parties have their headquarters in the Kurdistan Region, an issue that was raised during a high-level meeting between Iranian officials and the visiting Kurdish Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani in Tehran earlier this year.
PM Barzani said at the time that they don’t allow any Kurdish party to stage attacks against Iran or any other neighboring country.
Last updated at 10:16 p.m.