EAST KURDISTAN : Frustrated by Splinter Groups Iranian Kurds Form New National Front

18/09/2012 RUDAW –  By SAKAR ABDULLAZADA – ERBIL, Kurdistan Region—A number of Iranian Kurdish activists have established the Eastern Kurdistan National Front. But some Iranian Kurdish political parties are skeptical about the group and say that its political goals are not clear. Nonetheless, many welcome such a step and hope the group will bring unity between the parties. 

Tahir Mahmoudi, an official from the Kurdistan Democratic Party of Iran (KDPI), told Rudaw that his party would welcome any attempt that served the Kurdish cause in Iran. “However, the goals and political agenda of the group must be clear to the people as they are the ones who will evaluate them,” he added.

Najmadin Gulparwar, a leader from Revolutionary Society of Iranian Kurdistan’s Toilers (Komala), told Rudaw, “We welcome efforts to unite the parties in order to achieve the rights of Kurds in Iran. But the problem is that the group doesn’t have a clear plan and we have no information about them outside or inside Kurdistan.”

The establishment of the Eastern Kurdistan National Front reflects recent developments in the region and international pressure on the Iranian government.

A spokesperson for the group said, “The recent unrest in the Middle East, the developments in the Southern and Western Kurdistan, the increasing international pressure on Iran and the lack of unity among Iranian Kurdish political parties are the reasons this group was formed.”

The group emerged after the KDPI and Komala signed an agreement which they declared would act as the foundation for uniting Iranian Kurdish parties in one national coalition. Muhammad Shaswari, one of the founders of the Eastern Kurdistan National Front, said that Kurdish parties are not yet ready to put the public’s interests ahead of their own.

“Iranian Kurdish political parties have not yet been able to establish a united coalition after 34 years of struggle against the Iranian government,” he said.

Shaswari dismissed claims that the agreement was the solution. However, he admitted that it was a positive step toward unification, adding that the Islamic Republic’s hostility toward the two groups was proof of that. He added, “If their effort is to establish a united national coalition, then we welcome it because that’s what we have been trying to do.”

Gulparwar also noted that Iran’s attack on the agreement was proof of its success, and described it as the fulfillment of a goal Iranian Kurds have had for a long time.

Most importantly, he believes it will lead to unity. “Without preconditions, the door is open for everyone to join us,” he said.

Party officials who spoke to Rudaw believe that the situation in Iranian Kurdistan is not yet ripe for revolution due to the large number of Kurdish activists and politicians in Iranian prisons and the brutality of the regime’s crackdown on revolutionaries.  However, Shaswari said that, despite the obstacles and dangers, members of the National Front have been carrying out activities against the Iranian government. “In order to protect the lives of our members inside Iran, we have coordinated small groups inside Iran to stay connected with someone outside the country through the Internet,” he said. Shaswari accused the leadership of Iranian Kurdish parties for neglecting the needs of the people. He added that the number of people joining his group every day proves that Iranian Kurds are tired of the political parties and their empty promises.

But Gulparwar rejected claims that Iranian Kurdish parties have lost their popularity. “It’s impossible to establish a united coalition without the Kurdish political parties,” he said, adding that the activities of the National Assembly were limited to the Internet.

For his part, Gulparwar insisted that the only solution for Iranian Kurdistan is the unification of its political parties under the umbrella of one coalition. “We must resolve our issues before returning to Eastern Kurdistan,” he said.Mahmoudi also believes that without bringing the Iranian Kurdish political parties on board, any attempt toward unification is futile. “We support every movement that supports the Kurdish cause in Iran,” he said. “However, any movement in that direction without the KDPI is useless.”