General Secretary of the League of the Kurdistan Regions, Ihsan Qadir, reports on the uprisings in Iran.
A tremendous burst of energy is being displayed by masses throughout Iranian cities and towns. The whole of Kurdistan is out on the streets, as well as Beluchistan, Azerbaijan, Khorasan and Tehran. Even in Kum city, people are demanding change.
This outburst was caused when a 22 year old Kurdish girl called Jina Amini was arrested by morality police and brutally killed. This was the spark that lit the fire of opposition to the very essence of authority in Iran.
The anger and revolt felt against the regime’s rules and laws has spread to universities, police, professional classes and the bazaar. We are witnessing a truly pre-revolutionary situation in Iran. The government has responded, as usual, with heavy handed brutality. They have tasked the infamous Pasdarans and militias to respond with real firearms and bullets against the women. Even though over 400 people are killed so far and thousands are arrested, this did not stop women from marching and demanding an end to strict religious and cultural rules.
In this age of internet and global communication, the Iranian mollahs are finding it difficult to control the street and stop the masses. The Iranian regime is unable to reform, because the mollahs will not tolerate change. They see it as a sign of weakness. They fear if they give in to demands, there will be a floodgate which will sweep them of power.
Iran’s reaction to the intifada in Kurdistan has been to blame the Kurdish parties. The Kurdistan Democratic Party of Iran (KDPI), just a week before, had announced the unification of the two sections of their party. Led by the veteran Mustafa Hijri, KDPI managed to reunite the wing of the party that had split from them. The fact that KDPI was able to unite, despite all the threats, intimidation, assassination and bombings, has put fear in the hearts of the mollahs in Tehran. They know how tenuous and weak their hold is over the Kurdistan region.
The Kurds, who number 15-16 million in Iran are mostly Sunnis and are excluded from the governmental system. Historically, Kurds have a strong sense of national identity and self-awareness. They set up a Kurdistan Republic in Mahabad in January 1946 under the leadership of Qadi Muhammed, later demolished by Iran in December of that year when Britain and the USA agreed with the then USSR to sacrifice Kurds to the Shah of Iran.
Iran bombed the Iranian Kurdish refugee camps inside Iraqi Kurdistan with missiles and drones to punish the Kurdish parties. The bombing caused the death of over 20 people. A heavily pregnant mother was killed and her baby son only lived one day. A missile struck a primary school where children were being taught. Although there was condemnation from Western governments and Organisation for Islamic Cooperation, the UN did not pass a resolution to condemn Iran for this barbaric crime. Iran is getting away with murder in Kurdistan. The labour movement and trades unions must show their solidarity with the masses in Iran and Kurdistan. The Iranian regime must be held accountable for their crimes.
The Kurdish parties have closed ranks more in response to Iran’s shelling and indiscriminate killing. They have set up a co-ordination centre which includes Komala, a radical Kurdish movement led by Abdullah Mohtadi. The Kurdistan Freedom Party (PAK) is also working closely with KDPI. This is a very positive development. The military skill and knowledge acquired by these broad groups, when they are working together, provides real leadership and an alternative to millions in Kurdistan. When they called strikes and closure of shops, almost all of the towns and cities in the Kurdistan region heeded that call. They have shown their power.
The Kurdish Co-ordination Centre has good links with other political parties representing various groups in Iran. They are part of the broader Iranian Opposition movement and working closely together. The Iranian regime is paranoid that the opposition will be able to consolidate their united front and pose an alternative to their government. We are not there yet. But events are moving fast and the foundations of the regime are shaking. The people of Iran and Kurdistan need our support now more than ever. The time for real solidarity and co-operation is now.