A Kurdish Peshmerga of the Kurdistan Democratic Party of Iran stands next to the flag of Kurdistan on top of the mountains that separate Kurdistan Region's northeastern borders from from Iran. Photo: Rudaw TV
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region—Iranian Kurds based in the mountains of the Kurdistan Region believe that Iraqi Kurds must seize the chance and decide their future through the referendum on September 25, otherwise no one else will give them this right.
“We may not be able to vote, but we are proud of it,” said 63-year-old Sofi Ahmad Sadiqpour.
Sadiqpour who has is a member of the Kurdistan Democratic Party of Iran (KDPI) and has been on the mountains for 43 years fighting Tehran for his rights, said that a referendum in the Kurdistan Region will make all Kurds happy.
“It is something for all Kurds,” he told Rudaw. “I hope it succeeds with the highest vote.”
Kurdish parties of Iran have expressed moral support for the September referendum through which Iraqi Kurds will decide whether to stay with Baghdad or break away and form an independent state.
But the position of the Iranian government has been clear from the start. Tehran says that Erbil must settle its disputes with Baghdad through dialogue.
“Kurds have been seeking a day when they can decide their own future,” Khalid Wanawshia, another KDPI member said. “Kurds will not be given their rights, they must take it and this [referendum] is one of those rights.”
Leaders of Iranian Kurdish groups have for more than two decades silenced their guns out of consideration for the Kurdistan Region and its diplomatic ties with its neighbors including Iran.
But the referendum, they say, is what they and their fathers have been fighting for throughout the decades.
“I am from Ilam, the farthest Kurdish city and I want to tell everyone in kalhori dialect that with the referendum part of the struggle of our fathers is about to bear fruit,” Alireza Ilami, a KDPI member said, standing next to his friends on a mountain top overlooking the Iranian border.