Abdul Rahman Ghassemlou was a Kurdish political leader. He was the leader of the Kurdistan Democratic party from 1973 to 1989, when he was assassinated on July 13, 1989 by perpetrators thought to be agents of the Islamic Republic of Iran.
In 1979, his party supported the revolution which ended in the fall of Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi. However, the party boycotted the referendum for the new constitution. This was the start of confrontation between the party and the new regime, which ended in a military oppression of the party by the central government. Ayatollah Khomeini declared a “holy war” on the separationist Kurds. Thousands of executions and massacres followed in Kurdistan, which were continued up to 1984 in the middle of Iran-Iraq war (1980–1988).
In 1988, after the war had ended, the Iranian government decided it was time to negotiate. Several meetings followed in Vienna, on December 28, December 30 and January 20th. Another meeting was set up for July 13, again in Vienna.
The Tehran delegation was as before, namely Mohammed Jafar Sahraroudi and Hadji Moustafawi, except that this time there was also a third member : Amir Mansur Bozorgian whose function was that of bodyguard. The Kurds also had a three-man delegation : Abdul Rahman Ghassemlou, his aide Abdullah Ghaderi-Azar (member of the PDKI Central Committee) and Fadhil Rassoul, an Iraqi university professor who had acted as a mediator. The next day, 13 July 1989, in the very room where the negotiation took place Abdul Rahman Ghassemlou was killed by three bullets fired at very close range. His assistant Abdullah Ghaderi-Azar was hit by eleven bullets and Fadhil Rassoul by five. Hadji Moustafawi succeeded in escaping. Mohammad Jafar Sahraroudi received minor injuries and was taken to hospital, questioned and allowed to go. Amir Mansur Bozorgian was released after 24 hours in police custody and took refuge in the Iranian Embassy.
The PDKÎ Deputy Secretary General, Sadegh Sharafkandi, succeeded Ghassemlou as Secretary General (he was assassinated on September 17, 1992). Abdullah Ghaderi Azar and Abdul Rahman Ghassemlou were buried on July 20 in Paris at Père Lachaise Cemetery.