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Two rival Iranian Kurdish fighters killed in Sulaimaniyah  

Two fighters killed during infighting between rival Iranian Kurdish parties in N. Iraq
3 min read
23 June, 2023
Cracks emerged between the two rival wings of Komala when Muhtadi joined the Alliance for Democracy and Freedom in Iran, which was announced at an event at Washington's Georgetown University.
Both parties accused each other of fuelling tensions that lasted until Thursday afternoon. {Getty}

At least two Iranian Kurdish fighters were killed and two others seriously wounded early on Thursday during skirmishes between two factions of the Komala party, a leftist Kurdish opposition party of Iranian Kurds that has bases in the Kurdistan region of northern Iraq.

The clashes brooked out in Zirgwez village of Sulaimaniyah city between the "Komala of Revolutionary Toilers of Iranian Kurdistan (Shorshger)", headed by Abdullah Muhtadi, and the "Komala of the Toilers of Kurdistan (Zahmatkeshan)", headed by Omar Elkhanizadeh.

The two parties announced their reunification in November after they splintered in 2007, but on Wednesday Zahmatkeshan announced its termination of the agreement, leading to tensions with the Shorshger party.

Both parties accused the other of fueling tensions that lasted until Thursday afternoon, but the situation was calmed after the security forces of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) intervened.

"The reason behind our decision to end the unification was that Muhtadi had met with Reza Pahlavi, the son of Iran's last Shah, without consulting us, and he unimplemented previous political agreements," an official in the Zahmatkeshan party told The New Arab in the condition of secrecy.

"Early today the forces of the Shorshger party attacked our headquarters with machine guns and they killed two of our unarmed peshmergas by sniper bullets, two other peshmergas are seriously wounded," he added. 

The official claimed that the Islamic Republic of Iran is "one million per cent" behind the incident.

Cracks emerged between the two rival wings of Komala when Muhtadi joined the Alliance for Democracy and Freedom in Iran, which was announced at an event at Washington's Georgetown University. The alliance includes eight Iranian exiled dissident figures.

The figures are Pahlavi, Muhtadi, Masih Alinejad, a prominent female activist; Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Shirin Ebadi; British-American actress Nazanin Boniadi, and Hamed Esmaeilion, the spokesperson for an association of Iranian-Canadians who were killed in a Ukrainian airliner shot down by Iran in January 2020.

The alliance released a charter for the future political system of Iran to be decentralised, democratic, and secular. The charter was rejected by the leaders of other major Iranian Kurdish opposition groups.

The reason for this rejection is deeply rooted in history. In 1947, Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi, the last king of Iran from 1941 until 1979, hanged Kurdish leader Qazi Muhammad, the founder of the first modern Kurdish state of Mahabad, and the founder of the Kurdistan Democratic Party of Iran (KDPI) the oldest Iranian Kurdish opposition party. 

The KDPI has waged an armed rebellion against the Iranian government since the 1979 Islamic revolution.

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Iran accused the Kurdish parties of stoking the nationwide protests triggered by the death in custody in September of Iranian Kurdish woman Mahsa Amini.

Iran in the past years had several times bombed the headquarters of the (KDPI) near Koya town of Erbil province and Komala bases in Zirguez, killing and wounding tens of fighters.

Iran recently deployed military reinforcements across its western borders with the Iraqi Kurdistan region.

Tehran recently hosted Iraq’s national security chief and warned it would conduct cross-border operations if the Iraqi government in Baghdad and the KRG authorities fail to disarm the Kurdish parties within a short period of time.