[Article] le 01 Mar 2023 par

Ghassemlou Family

In the rising of the sun and in its going down,

We remember them;

In the blowing of the wind and in the chill of winter,

We remember them;

In the opening of buds and in the warmth of summer,

We remember them;

In the rustling of leaves and the beauty of autumn,

We remember them;

In the beginning of the year and when it ends,

We remember them;

When we are weary and in need of strength,

We remember them;

When we are lost and sick at heart,

We remember them;

When we have joys we yearn to share,

We remember them;

So long as we live, they too shall live,

for they are now part of us as

We remember them.

From a prayer book, for all those who have perished fighting for freedom, justice, and democrac

(*) Rêya Jiyanê, Binemala Qasimlo: re û rîṣe, liq û ṣaxên wê, Avesta / Istanbul, 2019. (La voie de la vie, la famille Gassemlou, ses racines et ses branches).

In the name of the extended Ghasemlou family, I express my gratitude to all of you for being here today. I would also like to thank the people of France for supporting the Kurdish Institute of Paris over the years, and I want to express my gratitude to the President of the institute, Kaak Kendal, and his colleagues, for their efforts to hold this event in remembrance of the thirtieth anniversary of Dr. Ghasemlou's martyrdom.


Ladies and gentlemen,

Today, many friends will speak about the political struggles of Kaak Abdul Rahman. However, based on my relationship to him as a member of his family., I am going to focus on his family background and his political personality

I would like to share two points with you at the beginning of my talk:

First of all, Dr. Ghasemlou was my uncle and also my father’s cousin. We both had to live in exile in Europe for many years during the rule of the Shah of Iran. However, we were constantly in touch and I often acted as the emissary and messenger between him and the rest of our family who had less access to him.

The second point that I want to mention is this: In my opinion the personal character and traits of Dr. Ghasemlou were never detached or separate from his political ideology and beliefs. This is important not only in getting to understand what Dr. Ghasemlou was all about, but also it is important for the future generations of Kurdish political leaders and Kurdish people who will choose their leaders. This is why I would like to dwell a little on this point.

Our known ancestors date back to 1506 to Mir Seiff-Aldin Khan Mukri (also pronounced Mokri) whose descendants include Bodagh Sultan and Haji Hassan Mukri. Seiff-Aldin Khan Mukri established the first rule of Mukris in the Mukrian region of Kurdistan.

Kaak Rahman’s father and my grandfather, Mohammad Agha, was a clever, tactful, fearless, and peace-loving man. He was also a feudal landlord who owned hundreds of hectares of land and 11 villages. He maintained good relations with all strata of society and ethnic groups both in the city of Urmieh and in the surrounding villages. He had served for some years at the court of Mohammad Ali Mirza, the Qajar crown prince, in Tabriz, and had been granted the honorary name, “Vosuq Al-Divan”.

Vosuq was aware of and believed in Kurdish National aspirations and he also had a progressive personality. He believed in solving problems through negotiation. Although he was a religious man, religious prejudice would not find its way into his household. He may have been the first Iranian Kurd who sent his sons abroad to acquire a modern education. He also had a artistic inclinations. For example, one of his hobbies was growing roses, and he was very good at it. He also had a love of horses and was very good at training them. His penchant for hunting was well known and he was an excellent marksman.

Mohammad Agha had married many times. One of his last wives was Abdul Rahman’s mother who was Assyrian, and who was called “Nanajan” prior to their marriage. Nanajan’s mother and father were called Khatoon and Yosef respectively and she had a brother called “Babajan” who immigrated to the United States when the Assyrians came under severe pressure and hardship in Western Azerbaijan. Her father had immigrated to Russia and had left Nanajan and Khaoon all to themselves. Khatoon and Nanajan were quite poor and were living under the care of the Catholic mission in Urmia until a fellow called Sartip married Khatoon and Mohammad Agha who knew Sartip met Nanajan and married her. Nanajan became a Moslem and her name was changed to Fatima.

But I think you will find it interesting to know that as a result of their marriage Vosuq learned the Assyrian language and Nanajan learned Kurdish. It is famously known in our family that when Vosuq and Fatima wanted to speak secretly and didn’t want others to understand what they were saying, they would switch to Assyrian.

Abdul Rahman grew up in a multi-ethnic family among his brothers and sisters, and he went to school and played with children from other ethnic minorities such as Assyrians, Armenians, Sunnis, Shiite Azeris, and Jewish people, who all lived side by side in the city of Urmia. Also, the villages of these ethnic minorities lied scattered over the whole of Iran’s Western Azerbaijan and in some areas people of different ethnicities lived in the same village. Therefore, it is not strange to find that the young Abdul Rahman, who had a curious and a brilliant mind, was from an early age already actively searching for solutions to the problems of ethnicity. He witnessed oppression against the Kurds and the search for a way for people of varied ethnic backgrounds, including the Kurds, to live peacefully next to each other and enjoy the rights to grow and prosper together, became a passion that lit his way. He put his heart, mind, and soul into this passion for the rest of his life. Based on this background, perhaps one can say that the slogan “democracy for Iran, and self-governance for Kurdistan” that Dr. Ghasemlou initiated, was brewing from these very early stages of his life.

And thus, the political personality of Dr. Ghasemlou as a prominent Kurdish leader was inseparable from his personal experiences as a normal citizen. This amalgamation of personal experience and political life is historically a trait often seen in great leaders.

Abdul Rahman Ghasemlou was born in the city of Urmieh on December 22nd, 1929, on the winter solstice which Iranians call Yalda. He was the youngest of his mother’s five children. She gave him the nickname “Babushka” which means the “little one” and until he graduated from school and received his doctorate degree, everyone called him Babush Khan because most men in our family, from generation to generation, automatically got the “khan” name.

Between 1941 and 1947 a few important social, political events left a lasting impact on the Ghasemlou family and on Abdul Rahman’s life:

1 - Following the fall of Reza Shah’s dictatorship and the relative freedom that people were beginning to enjoy when WWII ended, and with the presence of Soviet forces in Northern Iran, there was a new opportunity for the Tudeh Party of Iran, the Azerbaijan Democratic Ferghe (party), and the Kurdish Democratic Party (KDP) to become active. The rights of ethnic minorities became a central issue in these regions and gained an immediate and widespread following among the people of Kurdistan and Azerbaijan.

2 - Between 1945 and 1947, the coming together and birth of the Kurdish Republic and also the regional government of Azerbaijan, followed by the brutal invasion of Azerbaijan and Kurdistan by Mohammad Reza Shah’s army, the defeat of these progressive political movements, and the execution, incarceration, and torture of many of their leaders including Qasi Mohammad, all left a lasting mark on the mind and soul of the young Abdul Rahman. A deep contempt for the Shah and his agents for their brutal massacre of the Kurdish leaders was pervasive in our family. Although I was only about 7 or 8 years old at the time, I can clearly remember the events of that time and the oppression of the Kurds and the feeling within our family about the Shah’s army.

3 - At the same time, the police forces who had entered Urmieh constantly harassed, imprisoned and oppressed Kurds who were sympathetic to the Kurdish movement including many relatives of Vosuq and my father. Because our family was known to have a particularly close relationship with Qasi Mohammad’s family my father was incarcerated seven times, although they refrained from imprisoning Vosuq because he was well connected and had much influence in the region.

Based on this situation and the difficult political circumstances, Vosuq decided to send Abdul Rahman to Tehran to study in Alborz Boarding School. Abdul Rahman was a very good and a bright student. He succeeded in qualifying for a scholarship to continue his undergraduate studies in France, all to be paid for by the government of Iran. He left for France in 1949 and went to the Sorbonne to continue his studies.

Abdul Rahman joined his brother Ahmad who was also studying in Paris. The leftist, progressive ideas of his older brother influenced the political orientation of the younger Abdul Rahman and he gradually became active in the struggle against the Shah’s regime. Around this time, Ahmad, Abdul Rahman, and another two men called Kamran Baderkhan, and Nuraddin Zaza started to publish a periodical called Kurdistan.

Abdul Rahman was a staunch believer and did not flinch when his ideas worked against his personal interest. In February 1949 there was an attempt on the Shah’s life in Tehran. Concurrent with this event, which caused much turbulence in Iran, Abdul Rahman made a heated speech in Paris to a very large gathering severely criticizing the Shah and his regime. It didn’t take long before his scholarship was stopped which forced him to leave Paris in 1950. Even though this speech and his political and social activities against the regime of the Shah were very expensive for him personally, but he did not back away from speaking truth to power even when it cost him dearly. He managed to obtain another scholarship, but this time to continue his studies in Prague.

Rahman continued his studies in the school of Politics, Culture and Social Sciences, and in 1952, he graduated with a degree in political science and returned to Iran. During his time in Prague, he married Helene Krulich and later they had two daughters named Mina and Hiva.

The year 1953 is considered a dark one and a black page in the history of Iran. After the overthrow of Dr. Mosadegh’s government through the coup d’etat of 19th August 1953 which was orchestrated by the US and British governments in Iran, the relative freedom which had been enjoyed during the nations’ struggle for nationalization of the oil industry was quickly lost and an atmosphere of repression and oppression replaced it. From this time, the era of Kaak Rahman’s underground struggle began and lasted until the Pahlavi regime was toppled in the February 1979 revolution in Iran. Throughout this period, Kaak Abdul Rahman’s wife and children suffered a great deal because of long periods of separation from their husband and father.

The years from 1953 until 1959 were characterized by intense struggle for the freedom of the Kurdish people and the Kurdish Democratic party. Although he knew that the police in Iran were after him, Abdul Rahman did not leave Iran and continued his underground struggle to preserve the structure of the party organization. These were truly difficult years and he was active in multiple cities including Tabriz, Urmieh and Tehran.

In 1957, he was arrested by two members of Tehran’s police force, but within a short time he convinced them to travel with him to Urmieh where his father and my father paid a substantial amount of money to Colonel Zibaie, the brutal interrogator and investigator of the Shah’s regime at the time. So instead of giving him up to prison and judicial system for interrogation and torture which was exercised ubiquitously by the police during the years after the coup, they would turn a blind eye and let him go.

He could no longer stay in Iran, so immediately after paying off the members of the police, literally on the very same night, he went to the city of Oshnavieh and, with the help of Mousa Khan Zarza, left for Iraq. He taught Kurdish history at the university of Baghdad, however after a short time, the Iraqi Ministry of the Interior accused him of propaganda against the government of Iraq and gave him 48 hours to leave. This time, Kaak Rahman left Iraq with the nick name of Abbas Anvari and returned to Prague.

In Prague, finally there was an opportunity for Dr. Ghasemlou to spend some time with his family. Also during the same years, he published his doctorate thesis titled “Kurdistan and the Kurds” in the form of a book and started teaching economics in the University of Prague. This book has been translated into six languages and has been reprinted multiple times. Even today it is considered an important reference for the Kurds and the students of Kurdish culture and people.

In 1963 after fleeing Turkey, I went to Prague to meet Dr. Ghasemlou. During this trip, I was received with warmth and kindness by both my uncle Dr. Ghasemlou and his wife Helene. Kaak Rahman knew many people and had a very large network and used their help and assistance to obtain a scholarship for me to study medicine in East Berlin. But he suggested that I would be better off studying in the West and I accepted his advice and went to West Germany to study.

In 1971, Dr. Ghasemlou went back to Baghdad again and started working at the Ministry of Planning. He started a new department there which was called the National Planning Department. He worked as an economist and the main goal of this department was to create a development plan for the next 20 years for  Iraq and the Iraqi Kurdistan. Dr. Ghasemlou completed this work with drive and enthusiasm.

Kaak Rahman was a free thinker who believed in continuous improvement. Perhaps because of his deep knowledge of economics and politics, he did not believe in becoming a slave to political and economic theories. He believed healthy socio-economic systems would thrive based on the will and support of the people. He saw and acknowledged the shortcomings of the socialist system in the Eastern block countries. So based on international law, he respected and supported the political orientation of the majority of the people and leaders of the Czechoslovak Republic to carry out reforms in their country. Also from this point of view that the occupation of a friendly country within the framework of the socialist countries by another socialist country was unimaginable, he stood against the occupation of Czechoslovakia by the Red Army in 1968.

His opposition to the position of the Tudeh party, which supported the Soviet occupation of the Czechoslovak Republic, triggered his resignation from the Tudeh Party. For some years during this period, he traveled and worked between the Czech Republic, Iraq, and France and, in addition to being responsible for the development plan of Iraq, he also taught in France.

Dr. Ghasemlou had analyzed the weaknesses of the socialist countries in a concise and realistic manner and had written extensively and openly about it. Many of these weaknesses were attributes that contributed to the downfall of the Soviet Union some later years. Also, in his meetings with the Tudeh Party, he reminded the leadership that towing the Soviet line blindly would not be in the best interest of the struggle for freedom and democracy in Kurdistan or Iran. Dr. Ghasemlou believed all parties should operate freely, and this way of thinking, together with the frank expression of his opinions, led to the expulsion of the whole Ghasemlou family from the Czech Republic in 1976.

Although these events caused much discomfort and problems in the day to day es of Dr. Ghasemlou and his family, in the long run they actually helped the Kurdish Democratic Party of Iran. Around this time, based on the efforts and hard work of Kaak Rahman together with other members of the Kurdish intelligentsia, the newspaper “Kurdistan” was published. In June 1971, the party held its third conference in the city of Coy in Iraq, and in September 1973, the third congress of the party was held in Baghdad and Dr. Ghasemlou was elected as the secretary general of the party. The program of the party, and its main slogan, “democracy for Iran, self-government for Kurdistan”, was ratified by a majority vote at this time.

After the signature of the “Agreement of 1975” between the Shah and Saddam, the government of Iraq began to restrict the activities of the Democratic Party of Kurdistan and did not allow a plenum of the central committee to be held there anymore. Based on the new situation and together with a few members of the central committee, and with the help of Paul Maubec (Chris Kutschera), the prominent French journalist who was a close friend of Kaak Rahman and myself, we held our meetings in the small city of Chataux de Montlivault in the suburbs of Paris.

Most of you are familiar with the role of Dr. Ghasemlou in the contemporary history of Kurdistan, however it may be helpful if I touch on a few examples of his influence:

1-  Dr. Ghasemlou played a very important role as an intermediary between the government of Iraq and Mullah Mustafa Barzani in 1974 which culminated in the agreement of March 11. However, unfortunately this agreement did not last and war broke out once more between the Iraqi forces and Kurdish Peyshmergahs. Kaak Rahman was forced to leave Iraq.

2-  A few months before the victory of the Iranian revolution in 1979, Dr. Ghasemlou returned to Iran and started to rebuild the Kurdish Democratic Party. And after the revolution, the party quickly put down roots among the people of Kurdistan. For example, within a short time after the revolution and in the city of Mahabad, tens of thousands turned up to listen to Kaak Rahman’s speeches.

3-  The people of Western Azerbaijan, which has a number of Kurdish towns and is the province where Kaak Rahman was born, chose Dr. Ghasemlou by a majority of votes in a fair election to represent them in the Council of Experts. The Council of Experts was going to have elected representatives from all over and was tasked with preparing the draft of the constitution for post-revolutionary Iran. Kaak Rahman was determined to to go to Tehran to participate in the Council. However, Ayatollah Khomeini made an announcement on official Iranian Radio that if Dr. Ghasemlou goes to Tehran, he will be arrested and tried as “Perpetrator of Corruption on Earth”. Everyone in Iran knew that those accused of this crime, specially by the leader of revolution Ayatollah Khomeini, would receive only a summary trial and would be executed forthwith. The reason why Khomeini was afraid of Dr. Ghasemlou’s participation is understandable on two grounds:

First, Dr. Ghasemlou had a thorough command and deep knowledge of the Quran and Islam. He spoke and wrote Arabic fluently and many of the clergy who had been voted into the Council would be dwarfed by the depth of his knowledge and oratory ability. Also, in addition to religious minorities in Iran, including Zorastrians, Christians, and Jewish people, there is a large Sunni population living on large swaths of land on the Western and Eastern boarders of Iran. With Dr. Ghasemlou present in the Council, the implications of many clauses of the Constitution which emanate from the aspirations of a small sliver of Shiite groups, such as the clause related to the Supreme Leadership, would have been brought up and discussed for the Sunni population, and who knows, might even have been altered.

Second, Dr. Ghasemlou would defend the rights of national minorities in Iran including the Azeris, the Kurds, the Arabs, the Turkmens and the Baluchi’s who had suffered a double oppression under the Shah, and perhaps the revolution could give these people justice by recognizing their existence and by allocating special rights and benefits to them.

In any case, unfortunately, after the official threat by Ayatollah Khomeini, Dr. Ghasemlou could not participate in the Council of Rxperts. Therefore, not only were his rights as a citizen ignored and trampled upon by a baseless, illegal and unprincipled order issued by Khomeini, but also rights of the thousands of people who had cast their vote for him were ignored as well.

There is a proverb in Farsi which translates to something like this:

If a brick layer places the first bricks for a wall in a crooked way, the wall will go crooked all the way up to the heavens!

Perhaps Iran’s present grim state, with its disillusioned, frustrated population, a people highly mistrustful of its governing body, which readily resorts to murder, torture, incarceration and oppression to control the population , could be foreseen on that very day when Ayatollah Khomeini turned his back on people’s votes, and prevented Dr. Ghasemlou from participating in the Council of Experts.

Following the attack of the military and para-military government forces to crush Kurdistan, during 1981 and 1982, Kaak Rahman became the de facto leader of the forces of resistance to the central government. It was in the heat of war when I received a letter from Kaak Rahman who told me that there were many wounded civilians and Peyshmergahs. He asked me to find a way to set up a hospital to perform surgery and help those who were wounded in war. I contacted Médecins Sans Frontières, founded by the French physician and Minister Bernard Kouchner, and they helped out immediately by providing the means for a small-scale hospital in Kurdistan. Within three days, I dropped all my responsibilities and worked towards setting up a hospital in the war zone. We were able to treat 20 to 25 wounded patients a day and the local people, mostly women and children, also began to visit the hospital. Dr. Ghasemlou visited the hospital whenever he could get a respite from the war. He would bring small gifts for the wounded.

In 1981 the socialist government in France recognized Dr. Ghasemlou as a person of international standing in Middle Eastern affairs and a diplomat for the Kurdish people. The Kurdish Democratic Party was also allowed to open a representative office in Paris. Mr. Lionel Juspin, the secretary general of the socialist party, invited Kaak Rahman to participate in the congress of the socialist party, and as a result of this recognition, the Kurdish Democratic Party became part of a wider network of socialist and left leaning parties in Europe. KDP also became a member of the Socialist International.

Let me also mention a little about the character and personality of  Dr. Ghasemlou.

Dr. Ghasemlou was fluent in Kurdish, Farsi, Turkish, Arabic, Czech, French, and English. He could also speak and understand Polish, Russian, and Slovak languages.

He was thoughtful, charismatic, and witty, with a great sense of humour, and he knew thousands of lines of poetry in different languages by heart. He loved Kurdish, Persian, Turkish and French literature and could recite poems in a very special way. He dressed well, liked to have beer as apéritif, enjoyed dry Bordeaux wine with his food, and would not refuse a little cognac as digestive. Anger was foreign to him and you could not catch him angry. In discussions, arguments, and disputes, he would patiently resort to logic and evidence to convince his opponents and even adversaries.

He also had a very tough kernel and could tolerate years of difficult, precarious, and dangerous living. Often away from his family, sometimes hungry with no money, working and living undercover with the police on his trail, he withstood all these trials and tribulations for the sake of the ideals that he believed in and the goals that he pursued for his people. But being away from his daughters and his wife was particularly difficult. I was alongside Kaak Rahman for more than 25 years and he would often bring this subject up with me.

Some of you may already know that while he was very serious in his work, he was also a very humorous person, and he knew how to develop a joke. This mix of characters made him a very charismatic person and he readily used his charisma in his relationship with the media, the journalists, and members or leaders of political organizations to advance the cause of the KDP. His personality was indisputably the main engine for the expansion of the international relations of the KDP in the early days.

He never held grudges and didn’t wage a vendetta against anyone. For example, when Dr. Bani Sadr who was Iran’s president began to have run ins with Ayatollah Khomeini over the management of the war with Iraq and other issues, Khomeini forced him out of the presidency. Bani Sadr and his close friends and colleagues had to flee from Iran. While many Kurds believed that Bani Sadr had not negotiated in good faith with the Kurdish Democratic Party and other Kurdish forces to prevent the war that broke out between the central government and the Kurds, and although he had even issued the command to attack Kurdistan, most of his cadre and friends used the Western borders of Iran to escape the wrath of Khomeini. Members of the Kurdish Democratic Party assisted hundreds of them in their escape.

Also many other political organizations oppressed by the security and military forces of the Islamic Republic and their members were plucked from the streets, arrested and tortured, mainly escaped through the Western borders with the aid of the Kurdish Democratic Party and its members. Dr. Ghasemlou and the party never refused help and assistance to these individuals and groups even if at times some of them had been outright opposed to the KDP. These deeds were not done out of political expediency. Dr. Ghasemlou and the KDP helped these individuals on humanitarian grounds.

Dr. Ghasemlou was also a very brave person. One of the best examples of his bravery was his resistance to Saddam’s requests and pressure to give interviews on Iraq radio and television, endorsing the Baath Party and Saddam Hussein’s regime in Iraq. I was personally witness to the earnest requests, pressures, and threats that came from Iraqi intelligence personnel to persuade him to participate in television interviews.

He refused to comply with these requests and firmly maintained his position.

Also in a meeting with the US Ambassador in the US Embassy in Iraq, when asked who was responsible for the murder and genocide in Iraqi Kurdistan, without considering the implications of his answer for his own safety or for the operations of the KDP of Iran which relied on Iraqi territory, he answered frankly and without hesitation that it was Saddam who was responsible.

In the years after the revolution in Iran, the KDP was involved in an all-out war of resistance and therefore felt the might of the Iranian government with all its military and economic power. The party could easily have waged vendettas and engaged in acts of revenge against local government, military, and militia personnel and leaders. The Iranian Army and Pasdaran forces had at times committed atrocities amounting to war crimes, had oppressed Kurdish villagers for their support of the KDP, and had at times summarily executed  captured Kurdish Peyshmergahs. However, under the leadership of Dr. Ghasemlou, the KDP never performed a single operation to exact revenge and kill civilians or even military personnel in a non-combat setting which might be interpreted as terrorism. I am pleased to say that this tradition became deeply rooted in the culture and activities of the KDP and it remains so to this day.


Let me also tell you a couple of stories that demonstrate our family relationships.

Once uncle Rahman and I were speaking Kurdish together in a restaurant in Berlin. A lady who was sitting close to us asked us about the language in which we were speaking. I replied Kurdish.

She then asked who is this handsome friend of yours and how do you know him?

I replied he is my uncle.

She asked how come your uncle is younger than you?

Uncle Rahman really liked this compliment and milked it for years. He told this story to everyone and wherever we went together, he said he was younger than I even though he was actually 10 years older.

Another story that I like relates to my older uncle Ali Khan who is a retired physician and who is the older brother of Kaak Rahman. Dr. Ali Khan is in his 90s, generally healthy, and lives in Urmieh.

In the 1970s Ali Khan wanted to travel to Europe but when he applied to get his passport, Savak, the Shah’s intelligence organization, told him that issuing the passport was contingent on him speaking to his brother and convincing Kaak Rahman to return to Iran. The Shah’s regime was willing to offer Kaak Rahman various incentives such as a permanent tenure to teach at Tehran University, and provide him and his family with excellent perks and privileges.

But these promises and offers did not move Dr. Ghasemlou. He looked at these promises with contempt and believed the Shah’s regime should be held accountable for its crimes. By refusing to cooperate with the Shah’s regime, he even forfeited the wealth that he had inherited from his father.

In any case, Ali Khan’s passport was finally issued and he came to Germany and asked me to accompany him to East Berlin so he could meet Kaak Rahman. After meeting with Kaak Rahman, we had dinner in Hotel Berlin. I had booked three rooms for our stay and at around 11 PM I went to the concierge to obtain the keys to our rooms. To my utmost surprise, I was told that we did not have an overnight stay visa and could not stay in the hotel. We left the hotel with no place to stay, but we were still in a very good mood because we were meeting with Ali Khan after many years and this mishap was not going to ruin our mood.

Dr. Ali Khan who did not believe in the socio-economic system in operation in the socialist countries, and who also has a great sense of humor, began to tease Kaak Rahman about our experience. He told Abdul Rahman “you have been driving us crazy singing marches towards socialism. Is this the socialism that you have been bragging about? What kind of socialism is this if we can’t even get a room and a bed to sleep in? Does socialism mean sleeping in the street? Does it mean that no hotels are available? And he continued by saying, “let me take you to West Berlin. I will get three rooms in three hotels in three minutes for you”. And we were laughing and having a good time. In reply, Abdul Rahman responded by saying socialism is a good idea, but it has not been implemented correctly. We were simply happy to be together.

On 15 September 1988, in a press interview, Kaak Rahman announced that provided the government is open to discuss the wishes of the KDP, he is willing to sit and negotiate with the government. The first meetings were held on September 30 and 31 with Jalal Talebani, the former president of Iraq, who at that time, was the leader of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan as the intermediary. Additional meetings were held in Vienna on July 12 and 13, 1989. Today, we know that the real goal of the Islamic Republic in participating in these meetings was to murder Dr. Ghasemlou. They thought that by murdering Dr. Ghasemlou and later Dr. Sharafkandi, the Kurdish Democratic Party would fall apart. But we see today that not only does the struggle of the people of Kurdistan for freedom, justice, and democracy continue even more strongly than before, but the KDP is at the forefront of this struggle.

We also see that Dr. Ghasemlou together with other martyrs of the fight for justice and freedom, has become a beacon for us, and an everlasting symbol of the struggle for freedom and democracy not just in Kurdistan, but also for non-Kurdish Iranians.

The martyrdom of Dr. Ghasemlou left a heavy blow to our hearts and to the struggle of the Kurdish people. But it also once again put the ugly face of terror perpetrated by the Islamic Republic and its leadership on display.

Dr Ghasemlou, whose murder was planned and executed by some very evil people, was killed for his staunch struggle for freedom in Kurdistan and Iran. He was a tireless and competent leader, the likes of whom have rarely been seen in the history of Kurdistan.

Your participation in this ceremony to commemorate the 30th anniversary of Dr. Ghasemlou’s martyrdom is tantamount to honoring the sacrifice of all those who have given their lives in the struggle for freedom, for their people and their country.

Dr. Ghasemlou spent all his life struggling for what he believed in. He will be remembered for being a seasoned politician, a master of languages, an ethical leader, a loyal friend, but above all he will be remembered for his humanity.

Thank you again for your participation in this ceremony today.