Excruciating life of Kurds under the Iranian regime
By Ramyar Hassani: Kurdistan Tribune – 6.5.2013 – As Kurds were segregated into four countries in the 1920s, a part of Kurdistan went under the control of the Iranian government up until now and Kurds in this part have suffered a lot because of being a minority and whenever they have demanded their basic rights they have faced repression and human rights violations.
Kurds always tried to achieve their absolute basic rights as human-beings and demanded their rights through dialogue and negotiations, but they’ve got only bullets, repression, imprisonment verdicts, massacres and the other types of violent reactions.
One of the most famous of Kurd uprisings involved Qazi Muhammed and the government he led functioned for just a few months before Qazi was given up and then hanged to prevent a probable massacre of Kurds by Reza Shah. What happened to the Republic of Kurdistan is a part of Kurdistan’s history and we cannot make any change to it but we must learn from it and keep it in our minds how our nation faced massacre because of demanding their legal rights.
But what we can change, or even just think about for a bit, is the current situation of the Kurds in Iran and the story that started with the victory of the Islamic revolution in Iran in 1979. Kurds in Iran comprise about 15-17 percent -12 million – of Iran’s population, according to a 2008 report of Amnesty International. The area of Kurdistan is approximately the majority of the west of Iran but still, according to the regime, Kurds are an ethnic and religious minority and, of course, they are considered as one of the most dangerous foes by the regime. Being a Kurd and unfortunately living in Iran means such things as being suspected of committing sins, being relating to or cooperating with armed Kurdish parties, enmity against God, collusion against national security, separatism and bunch of more accusations.
The struggle for the Kurds inside Iran begins with opening their eyes because welcoming them into the world on many occasions causes trouble over picking Kurdish name for them.
A Kurd in Iran does not have the right to study in Kurdish and it is obligatory to study in Farsi; on some occasions, the heads of schools in Kurdish areas have been asked to prevent the kids from speaking in Kurdish in classrooms even if all the students besides the teacher are Kurds.
The majority of this Kurdish nation are Sunni-Muslim, while some are Yazidi – a religion with pre-Islamic roots – Baha’i, Ahl-e Haq and followers of the Qaderi and Naqshbandi schools of Sufism; whereas the main defined and preferred religion in Iran’s constitution is Shi’ite-Islam which means being oppressed in another way. There are some Islamic groups in Kurdish areas having some activities once in a while but, of course, they are not allowed to do anything formally or else they end up in jail, exile and other similar verdicts.
For the last three decades one of the main weapons against the Kurdish activists, human rights defenders or even journalists was to link them to one of the Kurdish opposition parties and to imprison or hang them quiet easily. As the Iranian regime is one of the greatest enthusiasts for governing by repression, the existence of armed Kurdish opposition parties provides the easiest way to get rid of the activists and even to prevent Kurds from developing significant businesses since ownership of large factories requires government permission.
Those Kurds who have involved in any sort of cultural, political, women’s rights, human rights, journalistic or labor unions actions and organizations finally ended up fired from work, imprisoned, exiled or even hanged.
What is beyond doubt to everyone is that the Kurds are in an intolerable condition inside Iran and this matter is not new but not so noted by the international community which perhaps is because Kurds are stateless yet.
But right now the situation of Kurds in the middle-east is not as it has been in the past decades. Furthermore, the tensions between Iran and the international community have reached a very high point indicating that major changes will happen, even the collapse of the Iranian regime. One of the most important points for Kurds in Iran, as well as the other nations under the control of the current regime, is how to address Kurdistan as a state under a federalism schema and how to achieve the inalienable rights of a nation during any post-regime developments.
Ramyar Hassani was born in 1987 in Sanandaj – Sena. He has worked as a journalist and also as a human rights advocate in Latin America and Kurdistan in the field with CPT, an international human rights organization. He is an integral member of English section of Human Rights Activists News Agency – HRANA – which covers current human rights violations in Iran.