Kurdistan Democratic Party-Iran (KDP-I) announced on Saturday the assasination of one of its senior members, Musa Babakhani. Babakhani’s body, carrying marks of torture, was found in an Erbil hotel, sources reported.
The statement released by the KDP-I indicated that Babakhani was a leading member of the party’s central committee and that he was reportedly kidnapped on Thursday in Erbil. The statement accused the Iranian government of orchestrating the assassination.
Tehran categorizes the KDP-I as a “terrorist and separatist organization.” The party formed as a splinter group from the Kurdistan Democratic Party of Iran which has been at armed conflict with the Iranian government since 1979.
The KDP-I is headquartered in the Kurdish Regional Government of Iraq (KRG) which has been a source of conflict between Iran and KRG in the past.
The assassination comes at the heels of Nechirvan Barzani’s visit to Tehran where he was received by the Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi. KRG President Barzani had attented Raisi’s inauguration ceremony earlier in the week. Raisi hinted at opportunities to improve relations between the two governments following the meeting.
KRG security forces announced that an investigation into Babakhani’s murder was underway.