New Iranian Kurdish Front: A Means of Isolating PJAK?

03/10/2012-  By ADNAN HUSSEIN – SULAIMANI, Kurdistan Region—After years of division and political dispute, Iranian Kurdish parties have taken a new initiative to resolve their disagreements and establish a united front against the Iranian regime. A political analyst, who asked to remain anonymous, said the goal of establishing the coalition is to isolate the Party of Free Life of Kurdistan (PJAK), who many believe is an offshoot of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

In an earlier interview with Rudaw, Abdullah Muhtadi, secretary general of the Revolutionary Society of Iranian Kurdistan’s Toilers (Komala), mentioned that the agreement between his party and the Kurdistan Democratic Party of Iran (KDPI) was encouraged by this idea.

Last week, after a long period of political disagreements, a set of mutual agendas finally brought the KDPI and its rival, the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP), to the negotiation table.   Illustrating the decline in tensions between Iranian Kurdish parties, Khalid Azizi, the secretary general of the KDP, had stated that his party was ready to negotiate without any preconditions. Anwar Mohammadi, the public officer of Komala, told Rudaw via phone, “The region is going through changes. Without a doubt, these changes will affect everyone, including us and the Iranian government.”

”So we must think about the future of the Kurdish movement in Iran and be prepared for new developments in Iran,” he added.

Hama Nazif Qadiri, a senior KDPI official, said, “All Iranian Kurdish parties must be invited to join the front.” He added that KDPI and Komala are agreed on this point.  Political analysts believe that the goal of establishing the front is to isolate PJAK. However, Qadir insisted that it is not their intention to isolate anyone. “The contents of the agreement embrace every Iranian Kurdish party that can make a decision independently,” he said.

Qadir believes that PJAK is not independent because it is considered an offshoot of the PKK. Mohammadi said, “As far as I know, Iranian Kurdish parties don’t view PJAK as an Iranian Kurdish group. Instead, they believe it is a branch of the PKK.” “Therefore, if they decide to discuss their relationship with the PKK, they would prefer to discuss it directly with the PKK instead of one of its branches,” he said.

PJAK officials have consistently rejected that their party is an offshoot of the PKK. However, they admit that they share the same ideology. A politician in PJAK, who wanted to remain anonymous, told Rudaw, “The Iranian Kurdish parties have made efforts to establish a united front. However, their goal is to isolate and decrease the influence of PJAK in decisions involving the future of Eastern (Iranian) Kurdistan.”  Haval Aras, a PJAK official, said that, at this point, it is not necessary to make any statements about whether an attempt was made to isolate his group, since it is still just an agreement between two parties.

“We will announce our position when the front is established,” he added.

The political analyst believes that it will be impossible to establish a united front without PJAK. He said, “It will be a repeat of the situation in Syria where the Kurdish National Council (KNC) couldn’t establish a united coalition without the Democratic Union Party (PYD).” However, Mohammadi said, “The nature of Iranian Kurdish parties is different from Syrian Kurdish parties.”

He said that the PKK was already in Syria and had influenced the Kurds there. But the Iranian Kurdish parties have always been in Iran and enjoyed popularity there, so it is possible to establish the front without PJAK.

Aras also believes that a united front can be established without PJAK. He said that his party’s ideology is different from other Iranian Kurdish parties. “We may not fit in the front, but we can negotiate and understand each other in order for everyone to work together in that coalition,” he said. Aras added, “If they attempt to create the front without us, then it will be two fronts again and that will lead to division in Eastern Kurdistan.”