Photo courtesy of Khalid Azizi
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region-- One of Iran's main Kurdish opposition groups is planning to reshuffle parts of its leadership after the current leader announced he would no longer run for the position.
Khalid Azizi, the General Secretary of Iran's Kurdistan Democratic Party (PDK) informed the party of his intentions to resign from office earlier this year after completing his two term as the leader.
Azizi was re-elected in 2012 after assuming office for the first time in 2008. He has largely been viewed as a moderate leader who favored political negotiations with the Iranian government over armed struggle despite objections within his own party.
The PDK broke away from the Kurdistan Democratic Party-Iran (PDK-I) in 2006 following internal conflicts that divided the party.
Lengthy efforts to reunify the party over the past years have so far turned futile amid bitter rivalries between the two groups.
The KDP-I has held a tougher position against the Islamic Republic in the face of new regional realities with both Syria and Turkey in turmoil.
KDP-I leader Mustafa Hijri on Sunday urged US President-elect Donald Trump to limit the Islamic Republic's expanding role in the Middle East.
“Iran has unprecedentedly expanded its authority and identity in the Middle East to cause chaos, destruction and conflict,” Hijri said in his statement.
Deadly clashes between KDP-I Peshmerga forces and the Iranian elite revolutionary guards northwest of the country in June broke a unilateral ceasefire that the Kurdish groups had established since mid 1990s.
If Azizi's request for resignation is excepted by the party's politburo later this year, his deputy Mustafa Mawloodi is most likely to replace him as the new leader who already has a broad support among party officials.
"It would be a great honor to become the secretary general and will accept it if there is a consensus within my party," Mawloodi told Rudaw.
Two other party officials, Mustafa Shalmashi and Aso Hasanzada are also expected to compete with Mawloodi for the office, sources have told Rudaw.