Kurdish Faction Remains Missing in Iranian Parliament

By FUAD HAQIQI – 3-1-2014 – RUDAW – ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – A Kurdish faction in the Iranian parliament has all but collapsed since the August 2007 death of Bahaedin Adab, a Kurdish MP and politician who set up the first such grouping in hopes of uniting the Kurds in their struggle for greater rights in Iran.

Currently, some Kurdish MPs and other representatives have established the “faction of Zagros settlers,” or Zagrosneshinan in Kurdish. In the absence of a Kurdish faction, Kurdish MPs have supported one another in some cases. For instance, unlike previous years, they stood up against the absence of a budget allocation for cities in Iran’s Kurdish regions. A group of Kurdish representatives from Sanandaj announced  they would withdraw from parliament if the government refuses to reevaluate the allocated budget for the provinces. But the absence of a faction to coordinate strategy has led to disagreements among Kurdish MPs about positions taken on issues. Saied Saeed Haidari Tayib, an MP from Kermanshah province, criticized the stance taken by his colleagues from Sanandaj.

“Withdrawal from parliament will not solve the budget problem,” he said. “Sanandaj representatives should have talked to the government ahead of the budget discussion, so that the government could consider their demands. But they did not do that and they were a bit reckless,” Tayib added. In the sixth round of the Iranian parliament which began in 2000, Adab for the first time formed a Kurdish faction in the Iranian parliament. It survived through the seventh and eighth parliamentary rounds, but without much effect. In the current round, which is the ninth round, the Kurdish faction has yet to be re-established. According to Tayib, the creation of a Kurdish faction in parliament is important. “There is good coordination among the Kurdish representatives, particularly when the parliament voted for members of (Iranian President Hassan) Rouhani’s government, including the proposed minister of oil, who is a Kurd,” Tayib said.

Previously, Salar Muradi, an MP representing Sanandaj, Kaiaran and Diwandara had told Rudaw that, “Kurdish representatives are trying to reestablish the Kurdish faction, and initial preparations have been made for that purpose.”

But Tayib, who represents the largest Kurdish city, is unaware of such efforts, saying he only knew about the Zagros Settlers,” which appears to have replaced the Kurdish faction. The absence of a Kurdish faction has meant that several Kurdish issues remain unresolved. For instance, a large number of Yarsans, who are a religious Kurdish minority residing in and around the Kermanshah province, frequently complain they are marginalized and not considered for governmental and administrative positions. There have been three self-immolations by Yarsanis for different reasons, including alleged insults to religious symbols by Iranian authorities.Kurdish MPs and officials also complain about unemployment in Kermanshah province, which they say is as high as 35 percent, more than double the officially recognized rate of 16 percent.

“I don’t know the exact rate of unemployment in Kermanshah but I know that it is either the highest or the second-highest in Iran,” said Tayib.

There also has been criticism over the government’s appointment of the governor of Sanandaj. Despite recommendations by Tayib and others, the government picked someone else. In addition, during the election campaign Rouhani promised to appoint Kurdish officials to government institutions, but he has failed to live up to his word. “I hope Rouhani delivers his promises, at least half of them. We should give the government a chance to see whether they will deliver the promises that were given to Kurds or not,” Tayib said. – See more at: http://rudaw.net/english/middleeast/iran/02012014#sthash.oCc2bR2l.dpuf