Ahead of National Conference, Iranian Kurdish Groups Close Divisions

By NAIR PIROTI – RUDAW – 6.8.2013 – ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – An important Kurdish National Conference, scheduled for this month in Erbil, has already become a uniting factor for Iranian Kurdish parties, especially the three different branches of Iran’s Komala Party.

Komala’s three divided factions have already come together to win a seat at the conference, due on August 24. This in itself is considered a major step in reconciling Iranian Kurdish parties, which have remained divided over ideological differences at the best of times.

“The planned National Conference has had a good impact on bringing together the different factions of Komala,” Reza Kaabi, deputy head of the party told Rudaw. “We certainly cannot promise a unification yet, but the relations are in a much better state than they were before this conference” was announced.Until the first preliminary meeting of 39 Kurdish groups under the auspices of Kurdistan Region President Massoud Barzani on July 25, Iranian Kurdish parties had rarely met face-to-face.

Nine Kurdish parties from Iran, which have their main offices in the Kurdistan Region, were invited to appoint five delegates to the National Conference. With the exception of the Kurdistan Independence Party, all other groups managed to nominate their representatives for the five seats allocated to them.Despite friendly negotiations between these groups ahead of the conference, however, the Party of Free Life of Kurdistan (PJAK) and the Freedom Party complained they were not given a chance to send their delegates because Komala and the Kurdistan Democratic Party of Iran (KDPI) had already decided the seats in a secret meeting.

But a few days later, PJAK announced that it had solved the dispute with the other groups and had secured a seat at the conference.It is believed that the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), which is seen as the mother group of PJAK, had insisted on PJAK’s participation and threatened to boycott the conference if PJAK could not be at the gathering.  In 2006, a group split from the KDPI and established its own Kurdistan Democratic Party. But in a recent interview with Rudaw TV, Mustafa Hejri, head of the KDPI, said that both parties have been in friendly negotiations and contemplate a reunification.The KDPI had always refused to recognize its splinter group as an official party, but in the first meeting for the National Conference, KDPI leaders did not make an issue of that and accepted their former comrades as representatives of a legitimate group.