A sculpture made by the ‘Chai Boys,’ the foreign fighters volunteering with the Syrian Kurds. The photo was taken by ‘Ariel,’ an Iranian volunteer..
(photo credit: COURTESY ROBERT AMOS)
Although Iranian Kurds believe their domestic situation is terrible, the advances of Kurds in neighboring countries has benefited them, according to a well-informed source.
“If we compare the Kurds’ situation to other parts of the world the situation is much worse than even in Syria where the Kurds’ situation is better than in Iran,” Dr. Amir Muradi, using a fictitious name to protect his identity, told The Jerusalem Post.
Asked how Kurdish independence would affect Iranian Kurds, Muradi speculated that most Kurds seek independence from Iran and would achieve “self-governance or even independence” if their brethren in Iraq, Syria or Turkey gained independence first.
“Personally, I believe that the Kurdish people will become independent in the near future with the help of the Israeli government,” Muradi said.
Muradi emailed answers to the Post from Iran.
No additional details about Muradi could be released nor could any live conversation by phone or online take place because of the risks involved in being interviewed by an Israeli newspaper.
Muradi said the situation for Kurds in Iran is “terrible.” Many of his compatriots are in prison, poor, and do not serve in official government positions. The discrimination is great.
Asked how the Kurd situation in Iraq, Syria, and Turkey is affecting Iranian Kurds, he replied that Kurds outside of Iran are “affecting us greatly and positively.”
The existence of Iraq’s semi-autonomous Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) makes Iranian Kurds proud.
Questioned about Internet access in Iran, Muradi said that compared to neighboring countries the service was bad and slow, and that all the popular social networks and websites were blocked.
The mood of people on the street is one of desperation and depression, the Iranian Kurd said. He said most Kurds thought the country could not be reformed. Iranian Kurds have no hope in the so-called reformist camp led by former Iranian president Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani and President Hassan Rouhani.
The assumption is that hard liners led by Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the supreme leader, and the Revolutionary Guards, under his control, hold real power.
Arif Bawecani, the head of the Kurdistan Independent Party (Parti Serbesti Kurdistan, PSK), told the Post how poor conditions were for Iranian Kurds. He said that Kurdish political activists were being executed or receive long jail terms.
Bawecani, a Kurd originating from land that Kurds consider as occupied Iranian territory, heads the liberal democratic oriented PSK Party. Founded in February 2006, it has offices in Oslo, Norway, and in Erbil, the capital of Iraqi Kurdistan.
“Iranian authorities or persons with approval from them, distribute drugs to youth in Kurdish areas in order to get their minds off thoughts about claiming and working for their human rights,” he said.
Asked if Iranian Kurds were involved in fighting against Islamic State in Iraq, he replied that “Kurds from eastern Kurdistan – or the part occupied by Iran – always try to support their brethren in other parts of Kurdistan.”
Regarding the influence of his PSK party, Bawecani asserted there are thousands of secret members inside Iran.
“The active members who can be open about it are located in European countries and Iraqi Kurdistan. They are mostly students and academics.”
Asked about the constant talk of Kurdistan becoming an independent state, Bawecani said that the strategic goal is independence, and that the KRG has “the best chance of becoming an independent country.”
The period of autonomy since 2003 has allowed for establishing the structure of a state, and the KRG is functioning well despite a dysfunctional Iraqi state, he said.
Freedom for Iranian and Turkish Kurds will take longer, Bawecani said.
He alleged that Tehran constantly tries to create problems among the different Kurdish political parties and religions, but has not succeeded in ruining cooperation.
Regarding upcoming parliamentary elections in Iran, the Kurdish party leader said his party boycotts the Iranian elections and has sent statements to Iranian Kurds urging them not to participate.
“Iran is dangerous and we hope that the world will work together to remove this dictatorial regime,” Bawecani said.