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Murder at Mykonos: Anatomy of a Political Assassination

table, Dastmalchi, Abdoli, and Ardalan were sitting clockwise to his left; and Sharafkandi, Dehkordi, Ebrahimzadeh Esfahani, and Sadeghzadeh were sitting on the other side of the table. Ghaffari was sitting at the second table, a short distance from the first. The lower end of the table was unoccupied.50

Parviz Dastmalchi recalls:

The main topics discussed at the meeting were the situation of the opposition outside of Iran, the PDKI's activities and how to coordinate these activities. Before the discussion started, we chatted about Iranian assassinations abroad. Dr. Sharafkandi said: “I was talking with a peshmerga51 about life and death in the Kurdistan Mountains. He was sitting on the ground. He stood up and jumped over a bush and said, Kak Saeed,52 the distance between life and death is just like that.”53

Mehdi Ebrahimzadeh Esfahani adds:

Before the incident, Dr. Sharafkandi, Dastmalchi and Mirrashed were talking about Iran’s national interests, territorial integrity and Kurdish autonomy. Dr. Sharafkandi was explaining the PDKI’s position in favor of autonomy for the Kurds within Iran. Dr. Sharafkandi emphasized that he felt just as Iranian as anyone else.54

It was at this moment that Banihashemi entered into the room shouting in Persian, “You sons of whores!” and opened fire immediately. It was clear from where he directed his fire that Sharafkandi, Ardalan, and Abdoli were the primary targets. After two bursts from Banihashemi’s Uzi, Rhayel, who had followed Banihashemi into the room, administered head shots to both Ardalan and Sharafkandi. Between them the assassins fired thirty shots in total.

Parviz Dastmalchi describes the moment the gunmen opened fire:

I was talking with Dr. Sharafkandi, when Mirrashed who was sitting on my right interrupted us and started talking. When I turned to face Mirrashed, I saw [someone] behind him. I thought another guest must have arrived, so I looked up to see who it was. I was not able to see his face. The assailant’s face was covered with what looked like a handkerchief at the time, but which later turned out to be his sweater. A machine gun appeared just to the right of my face aimed at Dr. Sharafkandi. I saw the first three cartridge-shells jumping out. I fell backwards under a table. Abdoli fell under the table as well, about 50-60 cm away from me. His mouth was full of blood and he was dying. I did not move at all. After the second salvo I looked up to see if the murderer had left. I saw an arm with a pistol pointing towards Dr. Sharafkandi. At this time I realized that there were two people involved, since this person’s coat was black and white, while the first person had been wearing a green coat. I thought he would shoot Abdoli first and then me, but after a few seconds, I heard my name called by Ebrahimzadeh [Esfahani] and I came out and asked for help.55

Ebrahimzadeh Esfahani was sitting next to another of the victims, Nouri Dehkordi:

While Mirrashed was talking with Dr. Sharafkandi, I saw an unusual expression cross his face… then I heard somebody say in Persian, “you sons of whores!” I looked up and saw someone about 180 centimeters tall. His face was covered, but I was able to see his eyes and his low forehead. I also saw gunfire coming from him, aimed at Dr. Sharafkandi. I reflexively pushed Esfandiar [Sadeghzadeh] down with my left hand and pulled Nouri [Dehkordi] down with my right. Esfandiar went under the table and I, still in my chair, ducked my head underneath. Nouri, who was slumped against me, had been shot as I was pulling him down and his blood was on my shirt. I heard two salvos and then at least two separate shots. After a long silence, I recovered from the shock and began calling out to the others. Nouri was still alive. Blood was coming out from his mouth, and he

[50] PARVIZ DASTMALCHI, TIRURISM-I DULATI-I VILAYAT-I FAQIH [State terrorism of the Velayat-e Faqih], 217 (1995).
[51] Peshmerga refers to Kurdish militias.
[52] Refers to Dr. Sharafkandi. Kak means friend and Saeed was Dr. Sharafkandi’ alias.
[53] Interview with Parviz Dastmalchi, Eyewitness, in New Haven, Conn. (Sep. 7, 2006).
[54] Telephone interview with Mehdi Ebrahimzadeh, Eyewitness (Jan. 2, 2007).
[55] Interview with Parviz Dastmalchi, Eyewitness, in New Haven, Conn. (Sep. 7, 2006).

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Political Killings, Assassinations, Political Freedom