April 27, 2004

The Tragedy of Being Kurd in Iran

Dr. Ali-Reza Nourizadeh

THE Kurds in Iran, despite being the pioneers of the first Iranian kingdom, and the Medes era considered being the start of civilization, and unlike Turkey where Kurds are called “the mountainous Turks”, no one in Iran has dared to make such insulting remarks concerning the Kurds in Iran, Kurds have been suppressed by far more than any other Iranian nationalities.

Despite this, never in the pages of Iranian history, even during the most oppressive periods on the regional authorities in the Reza Shah era in the early decades of the twentieth century where extraordinary injustice was inflicted upon Kurds, they have never faced so much oppression as the last two decades of mass killings and cultural alienation.

To prove this bitter reality, it is enough to shed some light on the number of dead either from military aggression or executions and assassinations carried out by the intelligence apparatus of the Islamic Republic of Iran in the last 23 years; furthermore, add the segregated and torn-apart families, then you will realize that the crack-down on Kurds in an organized and well-planned scheme has been one of the strategic objective of this regime. All the Iranian ethnic groups are faced with oppression and injustice by a regime identified with beard and turban, but their Kurdness along with their Sunnism, a religious sect different from the official Shiite sect can make the Kurds of Iran an apparent enemy. An Iranian Azeri is subjugated as mush as a Persian, Loristani, Gillani or kirmanshahi because an Azeri is a Shiite so there is no doubt in his/her Islamism, but Kurds, Baluchis, Turkamans and Talishis and all the Sunnis of western Iran have special circumstances. In general, because Kurds among other Iranian ethnic groups have been more politically active, first due to their integration with the national movements of Kurds in other parts of Kurdistan, and secondly in Iran, Kurds relative to other ethnic groups in the last century have been more autonomous, and even following the World War Two, they established an autonomous republic. Since then, it has nurtured those such as Dr. Abdul Rahman Ghassemlou who have played an important role in the equality movement and struggle; therefore, they have been more suspicious in the eyes of the central governments in Iran especially to the Islamic Republic of Iran.

Following the Iranian Revolution, Democratic Party of Kurdistan that had a considerable and effective role in organizing and instigating the people of Kurdistan against the previous regime in Iran, was hopeful some of its fundamental demands would be met within the framework of the new regime in Iran, so Kurds could at least play a role in conducting the affairs of Kurdistan. However, Ayatollah Khomeini did not even respect the will of the people of Kurdistan when he prevented Dr. Ghassemlou, the elected representative of the region to participate in the assembly of experts’ first meeting (the council in charge of drafting the first constitution, and now in charge of electing the supreme leader). The Ayatollah made unexpected attacks on Dr. Ghassemlou and the Party in the first gathering of the assembly. With the decree of the Ayatollah, the full scale attacks of the revolutionary guards started against Kurdish people, and in the cities of Mahabad, Paveh, Sanandaj, and other cities and villages of Kurdistan, waves of bloodshed spread. In the city of Paveh, following the troops’ entry into the city, the revolutionary guards would tie up civilian Kurds to their walls and windows group by group, and they would rain their bodies with bullets.

You all have seen the photos that I had taken out of Iran in the August of 1979, and given them to the English and French media, where in it two brothers of my Friend, Farhad Rashidian were shot dead in the airport of Sanandaj. Dr. Ghassemlou later told me that these pictures revealed the true image of Ayatollah Khomeini’s regime, and the international community soon realized that another Gandhi had not emerged, but rather the tragedies of Hitler and Stalin had been repeated. The regime in Iran never took into account number of concepts such as historical importance, geographical location and a common devotion for a land in regards to Kurds. From the perspective of the leader of the regime, Kurds are those Sunni infidels who believe in Omar and the injustices inflicted upon Fatima, the daughter of the Prophet Muhammad.

The same thinking was dominant on those who assassinated Dr. Ghassemlou in Vienna with the order of divine leader of the regime and its intelligence minister Ali Fallahian who following the prayer sharpen their swords and load their pistols. The killers of Dr. Sadegh Sharafkandi, - Dr. Ghassemlou’s successor - and his associates in the Mykonous Restaurant in Berlin, whether the Lebanese who prayed towards the shrine of supreme leader of Iran or those several Iranian conductors and organizers, all believed that by taking a few more lives, they will be rewarded with a larger share in heaven.

Several weeks ago, Ali-Aga Muhammadi, the deputy of Iran radio television and special advisor to the supreme leader in Iraqi Kurdish and Shiite opposition affairs, after a trip to Baghdad and talks and kisses with Saddam’s deputy and several other ministries, in his return report to the higher officials, he expressed his concerns about the attempts of Kurds to establish a federal Iraq. He also pointed out that the Kurds of Iran especially the Democratic Party of Kurdistan have allied with the Kurds of Iraq to establish a broader Kurdish authority. Immediately after the report, three members of PDKI who had been held in prison for a long period of time were executed.

Years ago, when the conformitists and the ruling elite in Iran accused Kurds of separatism, Dr. Ghassemlou declared that whoever doubts the Iranianism of Kurds in Iran, should come and see who is more Iranian than us; we who have established the first civilization in Iran, or those who have chosen an Islamic epithet instead of Iran. It is puzzling, that a political organization whose principal slogan is Democracy for Iran and Autonomy for Kurdistan, must prove its conviction with juriscouncil to prove its Iranianism from the perspective of the regime’s officials, while they choose an alien Iraqi as the head of judiciary and no one questions where he has obtained his identity card.

When Khatami appointed Abdullah Ramazanzadeh, a half Kurdish specialist in the field of ethnology from the Belgian university as the governor of Kurdistan province, it was expected that things have changed in Kurdistan; however, very soon, Ramazanzadeh was recalled to Tehran and he almost ended up in the notorious Avin prison because contrary to the wishes of supreme leader and his mercenaries and guards in Kurdistan, he was committed that the local officials must be utilized for conducting the affairs of Kurdistan. Today, Kurdistan is under the siege of revolutionary guards and the control of intelligence corps. The most Iranian of Iranians, meaning Kurds, under excessive oppression and with all the pains and wounds, they still cry out “Democracy for Iran, Autonomy for Kurdistan”.

This was Dr. Nourizadeh’s speech in the French Parliament honouring Dr. Sharafkandi’s 10th anniversary.


April 27, 2004 05:15 PM

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