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What does Iran want from Kurdistan?

By Arif Qurbany 7/9/2017
The people of Kurdistan have not yet decided whether or not we want independence. But this question will be settled when the people of Kurdistan go to vote on September 25. So the current stances taken by regional or world countries towards Kurdistan’s independence should not be considered as official. 

International recognition will become important after the Kurdistan Region decides this question and its political leadership enforces the verdict of its people by declaring a federal state for Kurdistan. The established norm is to base international relations on appropriate interests. This is the same for Kurdistan and the greater world. Countries deeming a state for Kurdistan to be dangerous will oppose it, and those deeming it beneficial will recognize it.

The state of Israel was established in 1948 and still a number of Arab and Islamic countries have not recognized it because they have seen it as a strategic danger to themselves. However, countries which had a stake in the state established official relations with Israel early on. Even countries which didn’t have any interests in the establishment of Israel, nor feared its foundation, recognized and are dealing with Israel just to meet international principles. It will be the same for a future Kurdistani state.

Instead of anticipating what the stance of these countries might take with regards to independence, the people of Kurdistan should figure in what respect their state will pose a danger or be in the interests of these countries. If we look at a future Kurdistani state from this perspective, we will know who will be with us and who will be against us. And if we see an untoward stance taken by a country, it will be our duty to explain things to other countries and reassure them. 

Thus far, the people of Kurdistan have misunderstood the stance of Iran. The common understanding is that Iran is against independence and a state for Kurdistan. Additionally, if there is a belief in Iranian strategic centers that Kurdistan will pose a danger to them, they too should rectify this misunderstanding. If the name ‘The Kurdistan Region’ changes to ‘The State of Kurdistan’, what actual dangers will this pose to Iran? 

Under the name ‘The Kurdistan Region,’ Kurdistan with its current border stretching from Shingal to Gulala is now of great benefit and interest to Iran. Why would these interests turn into dangers to Iran if its name changes to ‘The State of Kurdistan?’ In what respect will Kurdistan pose such a danger to Iran that it is willing to oppose independence for Kurdistan? 

The Kurdistan Region proved to Iran over the past two decades that this homeland is safe for Iran regardless of its name. Iran shares a long border with Kurdistan, because of this there is peace and security deep inside Iran.

Iran has had many problems with regional and other world countries over the past two decades. Had it not been due to the Kurdistan Region, had the Kurdistan Region allowed it, numerous contact channels would be built between the foes of Iran and those in Iran’s Kurdistan Province. Many countries could be meddling in Iranian internal affairs, in the same way Iran has been interfering in the affairs of many countries in the region. But the Kurdistan Region has not opened its doors to any of the foes of Iran to build these contact channels.

There are currently international economic sanctions against Iran, and I expect these embargoes will intensify in the future, given the Trump administration’s rhetoric and a US congress largely of the same belief. Over the past 25 years, the borders of the Kurdistan Region were open to Iran which was getting many essential goods from Kurdistan’s markets. The Kurdistan Region has also been a big market for Iranian goods. This trade will become more significant to Iran in the future.

From the time Imam Hussein was killed, all the Shiites of the world currently led by Iran believe they have been dealt with unfairly. They think the Iraqi territory is theirs but has been taken away from them. Many sacred Shiite sites are located in Arab areas in southern Iraq. Simply, Iran wants Iraq to be a Shiite country and a center for all the Shiites of the world.

The role played by the Sunnis in the country had to be undermined in order to realize this. The collapse of Saddam Hussein’s regime paved the way to them to do this, especially after the United States withdrew from the country. The emergence of ISIS and its aftermath served the Shiite agenda. But a big obstacle for changing the identity of Iraq to a Shiite Arab country is the unity of the Kurdistan Region and Iraq. 

The Shiites and Iran should know that Kurdistan is a big obstacle for turning Iraq into a Shiite country and completing the “Shiite crescent.” Kurdistan has to some extent left Baghdad to the Shiites because of its wish to declare independence. If Kurdistan stays with Iraq, Baghdad will not be left for the Shiites alone. Sunnis in Iraqi now know that the Kurds are leaving them and understand that they alone cannot fight the Shiites.

Kurdistan remaining with Iraq will create a bigger obstacle for Iran because the Sunnis will again be strengthened. Iran is a big country that has designed its strategy meticulously. It can see the interests that stem from Kurdistan’s independence. It also understands things can reverse course if it prevents independence.


The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the position of Rudaw.


Zamo | 7/9/2017
This article must be the biggest load of crap I have read in a while . I don't understand why rudaw would publish garbage like this . There is no difference between krg and state of Kurdistan to Iran . Are you stupid or something or just acting dumb or both !!! Iran has a Kurdish minority . You think In a million years they will accept a Kurdistan that will encourage its own Kurds to ask for the same down the line . Of course not ! Listen buddy, please don't talk politics and stick to your day job of selling tomatoes🤑
FAUthman | 7/9/2017
Ryan Crocker (US amb. to Iraq 07-09) recently said that Iran's ambition has always been to split up Iraq. That was news to me too. But if that is the case why would Iran genuinely object now to the creation of an independent state for the Kurds in northern Iraq? It is a trade-off: Iran gets its hands on the oil riches of the Iraqi Shiite south, and completes its path to the west. The risk may be a bit of trouble from its Kurdish minority, which it probably would reason that it could handle.
Another perspective | 7/9/2017
Among the countries who will recognize Kurdish independence is Israel and her allies BUT solely for their own interests. They wish to creat a territory dependent, useful and obedient to their desired wishes which is meddling and weakening Iran and Turkey who in no doubt will react forcefully against Kurdistan. Independent Kurdistan will only be in name and Kurdistan has to abide by Israeli's and her allies' wishes and rules otherwise Kurdistan will be left alone among the wolves after the independence. Therefore with independence there will be a clash between forces who support Kurdistan against Iran, Turkey and what will be left of Iraq on one side and Israel and her allies on the other, while the Innocent Kurdish population will suffer the most. Without independence Kurdistan is struggling on the path of progress and peace. KRG has achieved a considerable amount of independence and economic progress so far. A premature call for Independence at THIS TIME can ruin all these achievements. The solution Instead is for the KRG to push relentlessly for all the legitimate rights of Kurdistan within a full Federal system in Iraq. The situation in Kurdistan is a mess and it could continue to be so even if Kurdistan achieves her independence. With all due respect Sir, there are constant attacks by Iranian Kurds from KRG territory which were reported as recently as few weeks ago in Rudaw. Let's look forward to the day when political leaders of the Kurdistan, Iraq, Iran and Turkey decide if they desire genuine peace and security which will bring economic progress to the whole region they must accept coexistence with each other and not allow outside forces to divide and conquer them as now.
hameed | 8/9/2017
good to know ,, at present iran do not want any trouble with his own people(kurd)..
dale | 16/9/2017
Kurdistan have long history and as great nation who was not have state. Iran should not INTERFERE internal affair people of Kurdistan. Why Iran support HAMAS for sake independence of Palestine? Kurdistan not?

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