TEHRAN (Reuters) – Iran has arrested four suspects in the killing of a prosecutor in an attack which a judiciary official said may have been carried out by Kurdish guerrillas, Iranian media reported on Tuesday.
Vali Haji Gholizadeh, prosecutor in the northwestern city of Khoy in a region bordering Turkey, was shot dead in front of his home on Monday night.
“So far, no group has claimed responsibility for this terrorist act,” provincial judiciary chief Mohammad Ali Mousavi was quoted as saying by ISNA news agency.
“But in view of the threats and plans the PJAK group had announced previously, it is probable that this group is involved in the assassination,” he said.
Iranian security forces often clash with guerrillas from the Party of Free Life of Kurdistan (PJAK), an offshoot of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) which took up arms in 1984 for an ethnic homeland in southeast Turkey.
Like Iraq and Turkey, Iran has a large Kurdish minority, mainly living in the Islamic Republic’s northwest and west.
Iran sees PJAK, which seeks autonomy for Kurdish areas in Iran and shelters in Iraq’s northeastern border provinces, as a terrorist group. The United States, Iran’s arch foe, in February last year also branded PJAK as a terrorist organization.
Khoy’s governor, Ebrahim Mohammadlou, said four suspects had been arrested in connection with Monday’s assassination.
He said the city’s prosecutor appeared to have been killed by “hostile anti-revolution groups,” the semi-official Mehr News Agency added.
The assassination took place six days after a remote-controlled bomb killed a university scientist in Tehran. Such incidents are relatively rare in Iran, which borders volatile Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iraq.
Iranian officials have blamed the United States and Israel for the bombing attack that killed the Tehran University Professor, Massoud Ali-Mohammadi. The United States dismissed the allegation of U.S. involvement as absurd.
An Iranian opposition website said he was a supporter of opposition leaser Mirhossein Mousavi.