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In Iran, Limited Support for IS Among Small Number of Salafis

By FUAD HAQIQI 25/8/2014
A small group of Salafis praying in Iran.
A small group of Salafis praying in Iran.

ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – The Sunni Islamic State (IS/ISIS) enjoys some support even in Shiite Iran’s Kurdish regions, where loyalists have been seen chanting slogans and waving the group’s black flag, leaders of Iranian Kurdish parties claim.

“We have accurate information that supporters of the IS have shown some activities,” Mustafa Hejri, leader of the Kurdistan Democratic Party of Iran (KDPI), told Tishk TV last week.

The very limited support for IS in Iran comes from the small number of Salafis in Iran. According to a report on, IS supporters in the city of Baneh in Iran’s Kurdistan Province had chanted pro-IS slogans in public.

Shaho Husseini, a KDPI foreign representative, told Washington-based Radio Farda that the slogans in favor of IS were seen as a protest to Iranian Kurdish groups taking part in the fight against IS in Iraq.

On Sunday, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif reaffirmed Iran’s support for the political process in Baghdad on forming a new government and the fight against the militants. He denied any Iranian forces were involved in the fighting.

However, the KDPI, the leftist Komala and other Kurdish groups from Iran have joined the war against IS in Kirkuk and Nineveh, fighting under the auspices of the Kurdistan Region’s ministry of Peshmerga.

Iran is predominantly Shiite, and the Salafis are fervent Sunnis, mostly found in Iran’s Sunni-dominated Kurdish regions.

Rudaw contacted different sources in Iranian Kurdistan who said that they had only heard rumors of IS sympathizers showing public support for the radical Sunni group in Iraq and Syria.

It is believed that the Salafis are most active in Jwanro (Javanrud) and that 20 Salafis from the city have joined the IS in the past few months.

IS militants established an Islamic caliphate in Syria and Iraq in June, taking the Syrian city of Raqqah as their capital.

Iran’s Shiite authorities have historically shown little tolerance for Salafi and other active Sunni groups.

Mukhtar Zarii, a political activist in Sanandaj (Sina) told Rudaw: “There are Salafis in Sina, but there is no ISIS,” He said that Kurdish Salafis in Iran can be classified into two groups, those who believe in jihad and those who don’t.

Some sources from Saqez city told Rudaw that Salafis in the town had celebrated inside the Salihawa mosque after the IS attack on the Kurdistan Region earlier this month.

Kurds across Iranian Kurdistan (Rojhelat) have condemned the IS attack on the Yezidi town of Shingal and collected donations and assistance for the tens of thousands of refugees.

But reports last week said that some IS sympathizers had attacked donation centers in Mahabad, injuring several volunteers.


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Perry de Havilland
Perry de Havilland | 25/8/2014
Well that is something that needs to get stamped on in a hurry!
ARGUSHI (USA) | 25/8/2014
It is hard to believe ANY human can justify what this terrorist ISIS are capable of doing. did n't this people saw the children's dying in Shingal mountain because of no food and water. They raped young girls in front of their parents as young as 7 years old. how would this EVIL people feel if their 7 year old rougher get raped in front of them.
kurdishwarrior | 25/8/2014
iran and its people were smart before during the islamic golden age but after that they somehow got dumber their language sounds like a battery dying their language is like a deformed brother of kurdish. Fuck the iranis and their fucking leader i hope the people their revolt against those khoemeni and his league has destroyed middle east and islam as we know it.
Reber | 25/8/2014
The mullah regime in Iran have arrested and tortured hundreds of peaceful secular Kurdish activists, journalists, teachers, students and intellectuals, their crime? criticizing the regime or demanding more rights peacefully. But the regime deliberately let's this Salafist movement grow in the Kurdistan despite being the archenemy of Salafi's all over the world. The plan is probably to let them grow so big that a civil war breaks out among Kurds then they can clamp down with full force on all Kurds and devastate the whole Kurdish region.
kurt bashar | 25/8/2014
Salafis are leech & they are the most dangerous people for the Kurdish people & their inspiration for the independence, with their backward & absurd believes. They are not Kurd but the Arab, they are more Arab then the Arabs & for the Arabs. We don't want to involve this sectarian war (Shia verses Sunni), if anybody cheers for the ISIL in the Kurdistan, need to be castrated & must be send to the Saudi Arabia as a revenge for the E-Zidies daughters & sisters

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