Kurdistan Democratic Party of Iran

   The Kurdistan Democratic Party of Iran (KDPI) — originally simply called the Kurdish Democratic Party—was established by Qazi Muhammad in September 1945, as he moved to proclaim the shortlived Mahabad Republic of Kurdistan on 22 January 1946. This led to the dissolution of Komala and the absorption of its membership into the KDPI. The new KDPI listed as its goals autonomy for the Iranian Kurds within Iran; the usage of the Kurdish language in education and administration; the election of a provincial council for Kurdistan; the requirement that all its officials be of local origin; unity with the Azeri people; and the establishment of a single law for both peasants and notables.
   Although a few leaders such as Aziz Yusufi went underground, the KDPI in effect ceased to exist with the collapse of the Mahabad Republic in December 1946 and the execution of Qazi Muhammad three months later. During the populist rule of Muhammad Musad-diq from May 1951 until the shah's coup in August 1953, the KDPI briefly reemerged. It began to recruit members and enjoy outward sympathy in Mahabad. The shah, however, quickly crushed this brief spring when he returned to power.
   The remnants of the KDPI fell under the powerful influence of Mulla Mustafa Barzani when he returned to Iraq in 1958 and rebelled against the Iraqi government in 1961. Under its new leader Abd Allah Ishaqi (Ahmad Tawfiq)—who was close to Barzani—the KDPI abandoned its leftist position and even condemned Qazi Muhammad. Barzani went further by agreeing to restrain KDPI activities against Iran in return for Iranian aid and even handed over KDPI members to Iran for execution.
   Thus, a new Revolutionary Committee of the KDPI denounced Barzani and Ishaqi and then unsuccessfully tried to renew the struggle against Tehran. After this new failure, the progressive Abdul Rahman Ghassemlou was eventually elected the new secretary-general in a meeting held in Baghdad in June 1971. Under Ghassem-lou's leadership, the KDPI adopted the slogan "Democracy for Iran, Autonomy for Kurdistan" and proclaimed a new armed struggle. The KDPI received aid from Iraq but never supported Iraq against Iran or Kurds in other states.
   Although little success resulted until the fall of the shah in 1979, socioeconomic changes during this period were beginning to lead many Iranian Kurds to abandon their old village and tribal identities in favor of their Kurdish ethnic identity. Thus, the KDPI and its rival Komala (not to be confused with the earlier organization of the same name) presented a real challenge to the new Islamic Republic when they launched their rebellion in 1979. Eventual defeat, however, led to bitter in-fighting between the KDPI and Komala, as well as divisions within the KDPI, now exiled in northern Iraq. Jalil Ghadani led a faction called KDPI-Revolutionary Leadership, which accused Ghassemlou of abandoning socialism and using undemocratic methods.
   Iranian agents assassinated Ghassemlou in August 1989 and his successor Sadiq Sharafkindi three years later. Mustafa Hijri became the new leader of the KDPI, but by 2007 the party had split into the KDPI and the KDP-I (the precise meaning of the hyphen in the second term is not clear). Most of the main KDPI leaders, including Abdullah Hasanzadeh (who some sources claim had actually been the party's leader from 1993 to 2005), left the KDPI and began to build up the KDP-I. The new and more dynamic Kurdistan Free Life Party (PJAK) clearly benefited from the resulting opening created by the KDPI split and Komala decline.
   Somewhat confusingly, political parties with the name Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) also exist in Iraq and in the past have existed in Turkey and Syria. Indeed, the Barzani-led KDP in Iraq has been much better known over the years than its slightly older counterpart, the KDPI. The Iraqi government at one time also sponsored a pro-government KDP.

Historical Dictionary of the Kurds. .

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