January 27, 2016 Comments are off admin

Speech Mr. Abdulla Mohtadi at the House of Commons Public Forum

I would like to begin by thanking the UNPO, my dear friend Mr. Nasser Boladai, the Centre for Kurdish Progress, of course the honourable members of the British Parliament, in particular Mrs. Emma Reynolds, and dear friend of the Kurds Mr. Gary Kent, as well as all others who helped to organise this timely and important forum. The Kurdish issue has long been one of the region’s unresolved political questions, each section of greater Kurdistan with its own history and struggle. There was a time, not so long ago, when Kurds where relatively unknown to the world and their plight was largely ignored. However, decades of suffering and resistance were not in vain and finally bore fruit. Recent events, especially the vital role Kurds are playing in fighting the Islamic State terrorist group or Daesh, with the help of global media, has contributed to change that. Kurds, for the first time, are being shown as heroes rather than victims and as fighters of terrorism and advocates of democracy – a nation surrounded by enemies yet a beacon of hope amid the most chaotic region in the world. With a population of roughly ten million spreading across at least four provinces in North and North-Western Iran, Iranian Kurds outnumber Iraqi and Syrian Kurds put together. However, the current spotlight on the Kurds has not been directed at Iranian Kurdistan whose Kurds have mostly remained unnoticed.

Kurds in Iran have a long history of fighting for their rights. The first contemporary nationalist Kurdish revolt in 1880 with Sheikh Ubeydullah as its leader, took place mostly in modern-day Iranian Kurdistan before it was suppressed by the Qajar dynasty. The first Kurdish political party, Komala JK, which literally translates to ‘Society for the Kurdish Revival’, was established by Iranian Kurdish activists in the year of 1942. Later, it was transformed into the ‘Democratic Party of Kurdistan’ which established the first Kurdish Republic headed by Qazi Mohammed in 1946. After only 11 months, that too was suppressed, this time by the Shah and Qazi Mohammed was publicly hanged in his hometown of Mahabad where the Republic had been based.

By the time of the demonstrations against the Shah in 1978-79, Kurds once again mobilized by participating in the democratic movement against dictatorship in Iran whilst demanding their own rights. But the movements in Kurdistan and Tehran were distinctively different from the outset. Unlike Tehran, and most other parts of the country, the Kurdish movement was not a religious one nor was it inspired or led by ayatollahs or the clergy. Far from it, it was a secular, democratic movement aspiring for political freedoms in Iran and Kurdish rights. Demonstrations in Kurdistan, unlike the ones under the Ayatollahs in Tehran and other areas, never targeted cinemas, bars, Baha’is’ homes, never forced women to wear scarves, never shouted Allah u Akbar as a political slogan and never welcomed an Islamic regime into power. In this sense, crucially, the Islamic Revolution never took place in Kurdistan. This divergence turned out to be pivotal in the years that followed.

When Khomeini and his followers came to power in February 1979, having marginalized everybody else, they organized the notorious referendum in April of the same year. Kurds, suspicious of Khomeini’s intentions, protesting against the ambiguity of the term ‘Islamic Republic’ and with no mention of Kurdish rights, boycotted the referendum. Their suspicions were justified as Khomeini ordered an unprovoked onslaught against the Kurds in August 1979. However, the government forces were defeated after three months and the regime was forced into negotiations with the Kurds at which point a unified Kurdish delegation was formed. The ceasefire lasted until the spring of 1980 when the regime reorganized its forces and attacked Kurdistan again leading to almost a decade of armed resistance.

It is important to know that in the decades following the establishment of the Islamic regime, even after the deportation of the headquarters of the main Kurdish political parties into exile to Iraqi Kurdistan, the Kurds in Iran have not remained silent. In fact, they have remained politically astute and at the forefront of many movements. Despite extremely harsh conditions, Kurds have waged many mass protests and demonstrations in recent years. I will mention just a few for those not familiar in order to get a better understanding of the political climate in Iranian Kurdistan and also an idea of the treatment of Kurds by the Iranian regime.

Within a month of Ahmadinejad’s election as President in 2005 the case of Shwana Seyid Qader spurred on mass protests across Kurdish cities. The young man was brutally killed by Iranian police and his body was dragged along the streets of his hometown by the police car that killed him. Despite brutal suppressions and indiscriminate shootings, mass protests spread across many cities and lasted for a month and eventually ended with a successful general strike.

In 2010 another general strike was carried out by Kurds following the execution of Farzad Kamangar, a popular school teacher, along with four others. The general strike, which took place during the Green Movement in Iran, was welcomed and admired by many Iranians as a sign of the Kurdish people’s resoluteness and organization. It was hugely successful and brought the entire region of Iranian Kurdistan to an almost complete standstill.

More recently, hotel worker Farinaz Khosravani plummeted to her death as she threw herself off the balcony where she worked to avoid being raped by a member of the Iranian police last year. This also lead to mass protests with many openly chanting anti-regime slogans.

One should mention other notable protest movements such as the recent well-organized and persistent teacher’s protests. Frequent workers’, students’, women’s and environmental movements have also become more prominent in Kurdistan in recent years, as have open Newroz celebrations highlighting the Iranian and Kurdish new year. Widespread celebrations of Newroz with the participation of tens of thousands of people, including women, in Kurdish dress are more frequently being held in public to assert Kurdish culture and identity much to the distress of the Iranian regime which deems it un-Islamic. Newroz celebrations, with the participations of almost all towns and villages, have become a symbol of defiance against the authorities as people are openly ordered not to do so and many young Newroz activists are threatened in advance and later summoned by the security police.

So how exactly are Kurds in Iran discriminated against?

Firs of all, Iranian Kurds are deprived of their basic political and human rights. Lack of any degree of self rule in Kurdistan guarantees that they are kept out of the political system. To give you an example, there is no single Kurdish governor in any of the Kurdish provinces, they are all appointed non-Kurds.

Secondly, Kurds are denied education in their mother tongue; the judiciary and administration also operate in Farsi instead of Kurdish. Despite the Iranian constitution stating that minority languages can be taught in schools as a subject this has never been implemented. The closest Kurds have come to achieving this right was a promise made by President Hassan Rouhani last year that a university in the city of Sanandaj would start teaching Kurdish as a subject module.

Thirdly, Kurdish areas are disproportionately deprived of budget allocation for development projects resulting in deliberate underdevelopment leading to higher rates of unemployment and poverty. Industrial projects and resources are predominantly reserved for central towns and cities disregarding the peripheries of the country where ethnic minorities live.

Moreover, Kurds are denied access to high-ranking positions and Kurdish students are constantly and unjustifiably rejected into higher education in many cases by the notorious ‘selection’ process. The fact that the majority of Kurds in Iran are Sunni Muslims also means that they are subject to double the discrimination, on the basis of both ethnicity and religion.

Also, Kurds are subject to the harshest violations of human rights. The Kurdistan region of Iran in general is under severe scrutiny and harsher security measures than many other parts of the country. This is apparent in the brutal state violence and in the disproportionate rates of Kurdish political executions and prisoners. By the way, proportionately Iran has the highest rate of executions in the world.

Derogatory and discriminatory depictions of Kurds in Iranian state-backed media propaganda and openly inciting hatred on television shows and film is still a common method of demeaning the Kurdish population.

Despite the violations of their basic rights, however, the Kurdish movement in Iran has remained a democratic, secular, and pluralist movement and has not succumbed to extremism, fundamentalism or terrorism and blind violence.

The role that the Kurds in Iran can play becomes more important when we put it against the backdrop of the recent upheaval in the Middle East. At a time when the whole region is submerged in turmoil and violence, Iranian Kurds should not be neglected once more. Kurds themselves should also learn lessons from the past.

The recent ascendancy of the Kurds in the region, the constructive role they are playing and the gains they have made, makes the current system of deprivation, discrimination and suppression of Kurds in Iran all the more difficult to sustain.

The idea of a non-centralist, federal state structure in Iran and an end to discriminatory laws and patterns of government is what mainstream Kurdish politics demand. This idea is no longer unthinkable; it is gaining more and more support among the political elite in Iran. Acknowledgement of the legitimate aspirations of the Kurds and other minorities in Iran and safeguarding their rights should find its way into any future constitution of the country.

Let it be known that the constitution of the Islamic Republic of Iran is especially and clearly discriminatory against national, ethnic and religious minorities and against women and does not have the capacity nor the potential or will to become a vehicle of democratic change. It is imbued with medieval notions of the divine rule of the clergy, eternalizing a certain branch of Islam as its official religion, blocking any meaningful change through a labyrinth of bodies and mechanisms such as the guardian council, expediency council and assembly of experts, with the unelected all-powerful supreme leader at the top.

Iranian Kurds and their political parties have always stressed the need for a peaceful solution to the Kurdish question in Iran and have been ready to engage in negotiations. Today it is important to raise awareness of their plight and not allow them to be forgotten in the eyes of the world as the West warms up to Iran.

The nuclear issue was not and is not the only problem with Iran. It was an unnecessary and wasteful programme and it’s alright that a commitment has been made to stop that. But it is important not to forget that the Iranian regime also has a terrible record of human rights violations, repressive domestic policies and expansionist regional policies to destabilize its neighbors.  Now that the nuclear deal is being implemented, its time to focus on other issues and the international community must not reward the Iranian government by turning a blind eye to its despicable human rights record.

Let me finish by saying that we all agree that in Iran, as in every society, genuine change should come from within. And let’s not make the concept of democratic change in Iran unthinkable. There is no reason why we should support democratic change in Myanmar or Tunisia, but hesitate to do so when it comes to Iran.

We strive for a democratic, pluralist and federal Iran, where the rights of Kurds and other ethnic and religious minorities are safe-guarded in the constitution and respected by the government. That is why we are for a Kurdish front in Iran that allows for the cooperation of all political parties. We are also for the constructive engagement and partaking of the Kurds in a broad democratic coalition in Iran, providing their basic rights are acknowledged.

Kurds are a vital and indispensable element in any democratic change in Iran now and in the future. They have been politically very active and outspoken in Iran since the Islamic regime came to power in 1979. With well-established and hugely popular political parties, a rich history of political movements, the capacity for mass mobilization, close ties with other nationalities and ethnic group as well as Iran’s democratic opposition, Iranian Kurds have become a vital ingredient of any democratic change in Iran.


Thank you very much for your time.

January 25, 2016 at 7pm – 9pm

Abdullah Mohtadi

Komala party of iranian Kurdistan

January 13, 2016 Comments are off admin

Speech Mr. Abdulla Mohtadi “Kurds in the New Middle East”conference about the situation in southern mediterranean and middle east

Ladies and gentlemen,
Friends and distinguished guests,

I would like to start by thanking Mr Stefano Marcelli, Mr Ahmad Rafat and the beautiful city of Florence for being the hosts of this event.

The siege of Kobani goes on as we speak. The barbaric, ruthless assault and the brave resistance of Syrian Kurds in Kobani has stirred the world public opinion and has once more pushed the Kurds and their suffering to the front pages of the worlds media. It was only a couple of months ago that the city of Shangar, or Sinjar (as it is pronounced in Arabic), in Iraqi Kurdistan fell to ISIS. The brutal treatment of its Yazidi Kurds by the terrorist group made headlines and shocked the world.

Kurdish history is marked with human tragedy. It is no wonder Kurds used to call themselves victims of history and a people who have no friends but their mountains.

Kurds in Turkey and Iran have been no exception. Decades of complete denial of Kurdish identity and total suppression of Kurds in Turkey, including mass killings and the destruction of villages, are well known.  While the situation has improved over the last decade it is in the long term interest of Turkey and its peace process to decisively intervene to defend Kurds against the IS terrorist group.

Less known, however, is the suffering and the harsh violations of human rights of the Kurds in Iran.

Kurds in Iran also endured a devastating siege of their cities by the Islamic regime more than three decades ago. In July 1979, only months after the Revolution, Khomeini ordered a massive onslaught against the Kurds. It was a brutal, unprovoked and unjustified attack that included many orchestrated mass killings, summary executions and the rape of women and girls. Khomeini and his Islamic regime were as fanatic and as brutal as the new Islamic State. A Shiite counterpart, if you like.

In Syria the priority should be the destruction of the Islamic State, however, Bashar al Assad should not be regarded as part of the solution. The Assad regime must be dealt with by the United States and the broad coalition. Dealing with his regime must be part of a comprehensive solution. The final goal must be a free and democratic, tolerant and non-sectarian Syria where the rights of all ethnic and religious groups are respected.

Syrian Kurds have lived in limbo for so long, they have suffered so much in the hands of the dictatorship of the Assad dynasty. Hundreds of thousands of them are not even recognized as citizens. In fact they are regarded as non-existent and are treated as such. The recent developments show how important the role of Kurds in Syria can be. Kurds should enjoy their full national rights in this multi-national and diverse country.

As for the Kurds of Iraq they have proved to be the most reliable partner in a volatile situation. They are at the forefront of war against IS and their peshmarga forces remain the only military force in Iraq that have had tangible gains with the help of the American led coalition air force. The Kurdistan Region, with all of its shortcomings, has proven to be the safest, the most politically stable and the most prosperous part of Iraq.

Maliki’s government pursued a very harmful sectarian policy, trying to side line the Sunni Arabs as well as Kurds and other minorities. His policies paved the way for the hell that the Iraqi people are now living in. If the international community want the new Iraq to work, they should press its new government to abandon Maliki’s policies and adopt more inclusive ones that work with Kurds as well as Sunni Arabs and all other ethnic and religious minorities.

Kurds in Iraq must be supported, armed and trained with greater scope and more urgency and speed. The long overdue constitutional step of resolving the issue of disputed areas, including Kirkuk, should be dealt with by a referendum according to article 140 of the Iraqi constitution through a democratic, internationally-supervised referendum.

But a Kurdish issue that is not at the forefront of international news is the case of the Iranian Kurds. With a population of 8 to 10 million, there are more Iranian Kurds than Iraqi and Syrian Kurds combined. Spreading across four provinces in North and Northwest Iran, Iranian Kurds occupy an area twice the size of Iraqi Kurdistan. Iran’s onslaught against its Kurds has been going on for decades. However, they are often overlooked.

Kurds are a key component of any democratic movement in the country. They can significantly contribute to a new, democratic, multicultural Iran. The democratic movement in the country, in which the Kurds are an indispensible part, are what the West should by relying on.

It is ironic that the Islamic State who are fiercely fighting the Kurds in Iraq and Syria and trying to inflict as big a blow as possible on them, have in fact become the latest element helping to dismantle the status quo set by the colonial Sykes-Picot agreement a hundred years ago.

The colonial agreement made in 1916 seems over and a new regional order is emerging. Kurds, who were the biggest losers of World War 1 in the region, after the Lausanne Treaty, have the potential to now become the winners.

The point I want to make here is that despite their circumstances and the unjust fate they continue to face, Kurds are no longer simply victims of history. They are making their history through sweat, blood and sacrifice and they are already contributing to the reshaping of a new emerging Middle East.

In general, Kurdish people are some of the strongest advocates for democracy and Western values. Kurdish national movements do not resort to fundamentalist ideology or extremist methods – they focus on building a free, democratic society with equal rights for all citizens, regardless of ethnicity or religion, sex or religion.

Kurds should no longer be regarded as a security threat. They are active and responsible political players in the region. The international community is awake to the Islamic State’s attack on Kurds. Gone are the days of Anfal, and chemical attacks by Saddam Hussein against Iraqi Kurds, as the world watched in silence. The world is finally listening and must now support Kurds in their fights for legitimate rights, whether in Iraq, Turkey, Syria, or in Iran.

Florence, 10/10/2014

January 13, 2016 Comments are off admin

Speech by Mr. Pshko Khosrawi, 10 June 2015 EU Parliament

Ladies and gentlemen, organisers and participants of the conference!
Greetings to you all!I am attending this gathering on behalf of the Komaleh Party of Iranian Kurdistan and I thank you for your invitation.

Iranian Kurdistan has a population of 10 million and is situated in the provinces of Kurdistan, west Azerbaijan, Kermanshah and Ilaam. This is one of the regions oppressed and discriminated by the Islamic Republic State. In the past 36 years, the major official policy of the state in this region has been: bloody oppressions; political executions; imprisonments and political deprivation and intentional economical backwardness. As a direct result, instead of having political development, sustaining economical development and the establishment of a democratic environment, the Islamic dictatorship is still stifling any kind of recognition of the rights of the Kurdish nationality and their freedom in political, economical and social spheres. The political deprivation not only has resulted in the legal banning of the main political parties in Iran’s Kurdistan and labelling them as combatants (MOHAREB), but also stops them from participating in the decision makings at the top layer of state-wide management. At the same time, the main policy of the state in this region embraces the political obstructions, suppressions and executions.

Massacres and executions in Iran’s Kurdistan started since the inception of the establishment of the Islamic Republic and Kurdistan is still the only part of Iran that political executions are taken place in. One of the human catastrophes of war on Kurdistan is the massacre of the innocent people of the “Gharenaa” and “Ghalataan” villages. On 2 September 1979, at 1 pm, an army division of the newly formed government, armed with tanks and canons, attacked the Gharenaa and massacred the villagers. Mass executions has been one of the features of the political executions in Kurdistan. The most well known case is the execution of 59 youths in Mehabaad on 2 June 1984, where they were executed together, at the same time. The executions are still continuing in the recent years in Iran’s Kurdistan. In particular, it has been very much increased during the presidency of the government of “expediency and hope” of Hassan Roohani. At present, there are about 400 Kurdish political prisoners enslaved in Iran’s prisons and 70 of them are under the threat of being executed. These youths will be executed and the rest of their families, merely for being a family member, are deprived of occupational, higher education and social life opportunities.

As far as the economics and the income in Iran’s Kurdistan is concerned, according to the official statements of the government, the average income in Kurdistan province is half of the rest of the country. It further states that the level of unemployment has reached 28%. According to the latest report of the Office of Statistics, the rate of unemployment in the country for autumn 2014, Kurdistan is in the fifth rank with 11.1% unemployment and Kermanshah, the other Kurdish dwelling province, is ranked first with 15.3% unemployment. According to the governmental officials themselves, an economy based on agriculture and industry, in another word the main infrastructure of the economy, due to state policies in nearly four decades, Iran’s Kurdistan is in a very weak position. Albeit that most of the industrial units in Kurdistan are small, however 50% of these industrial units are either closed or semi-closed. Unemployment, as a result of this situation, in particular for economically deprived provinces such as Kurdistan, has always been one of the major problems. Despite all the government’s economical promises, the situation is in no way any better than before. In such situation, a noteworthy section of the youths and employment seekers in Kurdistan, with a large number of them being highly educated, are moving to industrial centres of the country as well migrating to Iraqi Kurdistan. These border traders are routinely being fired up on by the army border forces of the Islamic Republic and on average 3 to 7 people lose their lives daily for trying to feed their families. There is also an organised plan, since many years ago, to addict the young men and women of Kurdistan. Everybody has heard the words of the governor of Kurdistan a few years ago, who said: “in order to stop the youths to join the ranks of Komaleh Party and Democrat Party, we should swap opium smoker’s pipe in their hands instead of guns”.

As well as the sufferings from the national oppression, one must add the discrimination and lack of rights that is inflicted up on the whole population of the country in general and imagine what it means to be a Kurdish, a Balouchi or an Arab in Islamic Regime of Iran. It manifests itself in all aspect of personal and social life and one has to pay the price on a daily basis for this “cardinal sin”.

Dear respected participants, representatives of the European Union and human rights institutions and commissions, I wish to take this opportunity to talk to you as the representative of the Komaleh Party and in support of the human rights that is denied to the Kurdish people in Iran to reemphasise that the Kurdish people in Iran’s Kurdistan, despite enduring all the hardships and oppressions, have always relied on the peaceful political and civil campaign and has never resorted to violence, terrorism, extremism or fundamentalism in their movement to fight for their rights. Not only that, but this movement has been one of the first victims of the governmental and state violence and terrorism at home and abroad.
We urge you to put pressure on Iranian state and officials, in line with your rules and regulations, working principals and your special duties and responsibilities against the oppression and suppression in Iran’s Kurdistan. We implore you not to allow the question of the international human rights in this region become an unimportant appendage of the dealings and question of “atomic dossier” or the diplomatic relations with the Iranian Regime. Every one of these problems has its own place and importance, however sacrificing any one of these problems shall cause problems for other problems as well.
We are seeking for the diligent implementation of the international convention on human rights, which is an international accomplishment of the peace-loving modern world. And further, we expect you to provide and furnish such situation by which we can convey the voice of the freedom-seeking and peace-loving people of Kurdistan and the Kurdish movement to all international centres. We live and hope that we are assisted in this endeavour.
Thank you for your attention.
Komaleh Party of Iranian Kurdistan
10 June 2015

January 11, 2016 Comments are off admin

Speech Of Abdullah Mohtadi In The Conference On Democratic Movement Pitfalls And Potential, Rome, 29/06/2010

Ladies and gentlemen,

Let me begin my very brief speech by expressing my thanks to the UNPO and its secretary general Mr. Marino Busdachin, Congress of Nationalties for a Federal Iran and especially Mr. Naser Boladai, honourable members of the Italian Senate and the Chamber of deputies, and all the organizers of thismeeting.

The eruption of the huge mass demonstrations in Iran in protest to widespread vote rigging in the country’s tenth presidentioal elections a little bit more than a year ago, marked the beginning of a new era in Iran’s prolonged struggle for democracy.

This peaceful protest movement, widely dubbed as Green Movement, soon developed itself into a full democratic movement for change that challenged the whole political system. This was the most widespread, the most challenging, and the most eloquent democratic movement in the three decades of Islamic rule in Iran.

During this turbulant but fascinating year the Iranians suffered a lot, but also learned a lot and gained a lot. The young generation, in their millions, whose high hopes for peaceful change had been quickly dashed, now experienced the utmost brutality of this regime and found out how rigid and inflexible thepolitical system in their country was, as we, the older generation, had experienced in the previous decades. This was a polictical lesson learnt at a high price.

The movment turned out to be much more powerfull and resilient than what the supreme Leader and his men expected to be. The demonstrators seemed fearless in spite of all beatings, killings, arrests and torture.

At times, even the future of the whole sytem seemed to hang in the balance. Only execrcising utmostbrutality by the Revolutionary Guards and securtiy fores, coupled with massive progaganda work by the state media in a bid to create a rift between the more moderate elements of the leadership of the movement and the masses who were ready to go further, resulted in a downturn in the demonstrations and subsequently its end. Lack of a clear strategy for victory, hesitance and tactical mistakes by the leaders of the protest movement also played a role. Encouraged by the turn of events and regaining their shattered self-confidence, the authorities have been trying hard to impement even harsher punitive measures and to strengthen their grip on the society as a whole.

To summarize, one can say that the government has succeeded in retaking the control of the streets, but they have lost everything else including the last traces of people’s trust. The disillusionment with the whole system is huge and unrepairable. In the words of a famous Iranian singer, they have been able to control, but from now on they are unable to govern.

The democratic movment has had a setback, but it is far from having been defeated, let alone eliminated. In fact, the democratic movment is now much more deep-rooted, it has even spread into the rank and file of the government forces and into the more traditional sections of the society. It seems that the vast majority of the people are now for a structural change, for puting an end to the rule of the militarysecurity- financial-clerical complex that is now ruling Iran with thousands of iron fists.

The existing Iranian constitution does not have the capacity or the potential to become a vehicle of democratic change, it is imbued with medieval notions of the divine rule of the clergy, eternalising a certain branch of Islam, ie shi’a islam of the twelver school of thought, as its official religion, blocking any meaningful change through a labyrinth of bodies and mechanisms such as guardian counsil, expediency council, assembly of experts, with the unelected all-powerfull supreme leader at the top.

What we need is a new constitution based on universal democratic values and human rights and derived from the realities and diverse needs of Iranian society.

Separtation of the state and religion, which is gaining more and more ground inthe real movement, should be a vital ingredient to any future democratic constitution in Iran. Let’s not be fooled by the preaches of the so-called cultural relativism which in fact considers certain people immature and not deserving full demcoratic rights.

The idea of a non-centralist federal structure and puting an end to discriminatory laws and patterns of government, acknowledeging the ethnic, linguistic and religious diversity of our country as a source of richness and strength should also find its way in our new constitution. It is of course entirly up to the Iranian people to decide on the future of their county and whether or not they want a change in their political system, but let’s not make a taboo of the regime change in Iran, it has become an urgent necessity for Iran and also for the outside world more than ever.

What is lacking in our domestc front is a united democratic coalition, made up of new and old oppositon forces inside the country as well as abroad, with aclear and coherent strategy and abe to mobilse and organise mass civil movements in various forms. The recent highly successful general strike in Iranian Kurdistan in protest to the execution of young activists by the government, is an example of how close cooperation and a clear strategy can work.

Let me finish off by saying a few words on the sensitive issue of Iran’s nuclear programme. We Iranians must clearly and unambiguously condemn the Iran’s nuclear ambitiosns and distance ourselves from it. The Islamic regime’s nuclear programme is not, as some used to claim, a matter of national pride, on the contrary, it can only be a source of misery for Iranian people, and a new tool in the hands of dictators, tortures and state terrorists, putting our future securtiy, as well as the security of the whole region and the world, at great risk.

We all knew that change should come from within. Now that it has come, we rightfully expect the full support of the international community for the democratic change in Iran.

Thank you very much for your patience.


January 11, 2016 Comments are off admin

International conference on Justice for Iran’s Kurds The Hague, 29 September 2014 Abdullah Mohtadi

Dear friends, distinguished guests,

Let me begin by expressing my thanks to the UNPO and also the International Network of Iranian Kurdistan Human Rights (INIKHR) for organising this exceptional conference on Iranian Kurdistan.

We hear a lot in today’s media about Kurds and Kurdistan, arguably, more than ever before. Kurdish Peshmarga have always been a great source of pride for their nation, serving as protectors of their people and land over years of oppression and brutality. However, the term has recently become familiar in the West and has come to represent the legitimate Kurdish freedom fighters on the forefront of war against terrorism. They have been recognised as the force helping to protect not just their own but other threatened ethnic and religious groups and peoples. This struggle has by no means been easy, the war and suffering is on-going and Kurds continue to pay dearly.

The Kurdish issue has long been one of the major unresolved political questions in the Middle East. However, of the four parts of Kurdistan spread across the heart of the region, Iranian Kurdistan is often overlooked. While Iran does not shy away from news headlines around the world, it is usually in regards to its nuclear programme and its hostility with the West. Seldom does its appalling human rights record make news, much less the specific persecution of its Kurdish minority.

With a population of roughly ten million people, spreading across at least four provinces in North and North-western Iran, Iranian Kurds are still deprived of their basic human rights. They do not have the slightest resemblance of a self-rule, they are denied education in their mother tongue, investment in development projects is very rare, Kurdish students are constantly and disproportionately rejected into higher education by the notorious ‘selection’ (gozinesh) process, they have been denied access to high positions in government for the last three decades of the Islamic regime, they are subject to the harshest violations of human rights and the most brutal state violence.

Despite some initial optimism at his election as president, Hassan Rouhani has just proven to be a friendlier face of the same brutal regime.

A report by the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran last month confirms that the human rights situation in the country remains of concern. Various laws, policies and institutional practices continue to undermine the conditions needed for the realisation of the fundamental rights guaranteed by international and even national law.

A United Nations Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran held last year concluded that there are many concerns still facing ethnic and religious groups. Despite significant progress achieved in reducing extreme poverty, certain underdeveloped regions, including Kurdistan, continue to show high levels of poverty. Poor living conditions in regions traditionally inhabited by ethnic minorities, in some cases completely lacked basic services such as electricity, plumbing, sewage systems, public transport, medical facilities or schools.

As well as this, ethnic minorities face severe restrictions in practice with regard to education in their mother tongue, including Azeri, Kurdish, and Arabic, despite some laws protecting the limited use of non-Persian languages. Closures of publications and newspapers in minority languages also prevent those groups from their right to take part in cultural life.

There are about 400 Kurdish political prisoners and prisoners of conscience in the prisons across Iran. 60 of them are on death row and 15 have been given life sentences.

In the last three months alone over 12 border traders, known as ‘Kolbar’ in Kurdish, have been shot and killed by the Iranian armed forces and 23 have been injured.

In his annual report about human rights in Iran, the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Ban Ki Moon, stated that the Iranian president’s consideration of human rights in Iran remains symbolic, with serious efforts for improvement yet to be seen. According to him, different ethnic and religious minorities continue to face persecution.

Human rights activists in Iran claim that 40% of the country’s political prisoners are Kurds. They also state that in the past two months, 140 people in Kurdish cities have been arrested, 111 of which were by security forces.

Crucially, despite all this the Kurdish movement in Iran has remained democratic, secular, and pluralist and has not succumbed to extremism, fundamentalism or terrorism and blind violence. In fact the Kurdish movement has been a vital component of any democratic movement in the country and in the region.

Kurds have been at the forefront of fighting democracy in Iran for the last 35 years. Kurds have a special place among Iran’s other nationalities and can play an indispensable role in the struggle to achieve democratic rights. It is only natural that the Kurdish parties have been one of the founders of the Congress of Nationalities for a Federal Iran and a significant partner of this umbrella organisation of Iran’s nationalities.

The international community should back Iranian Kurds in their fight for their legitimate rights. Kurds and the Kurdish political parties constitute a key component of any democratic movement in Iran and are a vital element for progress in the future. Kurdistan can be the gateway to political and democratic change in Iran.

While the concerns of the international community regarding Iran’s nuclear programme are legitimate it is vital that the discrimination and the widespread violations of human rights are not neglected. As an unrepresented people, the Kurds of Iran should be given a voice at congressional and parliamentary hearings.

Kurds can significantly contribute to a new democratic, multicultural, federal and secular Iran, which is the only way forward for an Iran that is at peace with its own people as well as the world.

Thank you.

Secretary General of the Komala Party of Iranian Kurdistan