Kurdish protesters in Mahabad setting hotel on fire .
(photo credit: ACTIVISTS)
The head of a Kurdish political party told The Jerusalem Post following protests over the past week over the death in Mahabad of a Kurdish woman, after an alleged sexual assault by an Iranian security agent, that the unrest could return depending on the court verdict.
“Iranian security agents are all over Kurdish areas,” Arif Bawecani, head of the Kurdistan Independent Party (Parti Serbesti Kurdistan, PSK), told the Post on Tuesday.
Bawecani, a Kurd originating from land that Kurds consider to be occupied Iranian territory, heads the liberal democratic oriented PSK Party. Founded in February 2006, it has offices in Oslo, Norway, and in Arbil, the capital of Iraqi Kurdistan.
The Kurdish woman, Farinaz Khosrawani 25, allegedly jumped to her death last Monday from the fourth floor of the Tara Hotel in order to avoid being raped by an Iranian security agent.
The story spread, leading to massive protests and the burning of the hotel where the woman had worked. Protesters clashed with security forces, which eventually abandoned the hotel, according to the Kurdistan Human Rights Network.
“The case is in the courts. Everything will be known to the public soon,” Jaffar Katani, mayor of Mahabad, told Rudaw on Monday.
“The situation in Mahabad is now calm and I don’t want to make it unstable again by publishing a report,” added the mayor of the Western Iranian city.
Bawecani was asked about a report in the London-based Asharq al-Awsat on Monday, quoting Hussein Yazdanpanah, the secretary-general of the Iraqi-based Kurdistan Freedom Party, who claimed that Kurdish fighters, including the Peshmerga, were “nearby” and could enter areas to protect Kurdish protesters.
Bawecani replied that he did not have any information about the report, but admitted that there is “secret Kurd support from Kurds in Iraq.”
Yazdanpanah said that three protesters had been killed and dozens injured. He added, according to the report, that the protests had spread to surrounding areas.
Asked if Kurdistan would gain independence this year, Bawecani responded, “Maybe not this year, but it is on the way – it will happen soon.
“Kurdistan is getting a green-light from many countries” that previously were against it. “Countries that were against are now more open minded,” he added.
Even though the Obama administration wants to keep Iraq united, the Republicans in congress support Kurdish independence, with additional support from Israel, Germany, and France.
Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban voiced his support for Kurdish independence on Monday at a joint press conference with Kurdistan President Massoud Barzani, Kurdish media reported.
In an interview last year, Bawacani told the Post that he thanked Israel’s leaders for their support for an independent Kurdistan and that the US was keeping