Mustafa Hejri, the leader of the Kurdistan Democratic Party of Iran (KDPI). Photo from Rudaw video
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region—Iran has left no breathing space for the country’s several million Kurds through repressions, disregarding all cultural and political rights and seeing everything through a security lens, said Mustafa Hejri, the leader of the Kurdistan Democratic Party of Iran (KDPI) in Erbil on Monday; therefore it is time to confront Tehran which is as dangerous as the Islamic State (ISIS) head-on.
“As KDPI, what should we do?” Hejri said at a panel organized for him by the Middle East Research Institute (MERI). “Should we sit and let the Islamic Republic increase its repressions day after day or should we continue a serious struggle as our people, the youth especially, have asked us to do.”
Hejri said that dealing with Iran for almost four decades including a unilateral ceasefire has shown them and the world that Tehran does not believe in giving the Kurds or the country’s other minorities any of their rights “expect under pressure,”
“Iran does not believe in any of those rights in the first place, rights such as freedom, democracy and federalism for the Kurdish areas and if it doesn’t believe in them how could you expect it to give them?” the KDPI leader told his audience.
Hejri said that pressure has worked well on Tehran in the past to make it accept the terms of the others, citing the examples of the Iran-Iraq war of the 1980s and recent sanctions imposed on Iran by the West that eventually brought Tehran to the negotiating table and a deal.
“So this tells us that if there is some force on the Islamic Republic it is possible that it will accept the demands of the Kurdish people, to a degree,” Hejri argued. “And for that force to work, before anything else, the Kurdish struggle inside Iran has to become a real and effective thing.”
He went on to describe the Iranian government as a Shiite Daesh, the local term for the Islamic State (ISIS) which he said was as dangerous as the extremist Sunni group.
“The Sunni ISIS do openly what is in their heart, they kill and destroy you without shame and will talk about it, but the danger of the Shiite ISIS like the Islamic Republic of Iran is that it approaches you like a friend but is your biggest enemy,”
The KDPI and Iranian troops went through several days of fighting in some border towns in June that led to the death of at least eight Peshmerga and an equal number of Iranian soldiers.
Despite being the oldest Kurdish party in Iran and vowing resumption of armed struggle against Tehran, Hejri admitted at the panel that his party wouldn’t be able to go at it alone and needs the involvement of all other Kurdish groups.
“Our purpose behind resuming the armed struggle is for our fighters to be inside the cities, boost people’s morale, learn the terrain and encourage them to get involved in this struggle,” Hejri said.