First joint Forum UoS-SPU Universities Saulaimani

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Ahmad Eskandari MA

Keynote speeches

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Born 1948 in Saghez, Iranian Kurdistan. B.Sc. 1972 Geology Univ. of Shiraz; D.E.A. 1978 Hydrology University of Bordeaux.  Assistant of the late Sheikh Ezzedin Hosseini (1922-2011); leading representative member of Komala in Europe; spokesperson and international contact for Kurdish refugees with the ICRC in Geneva, Scandinavian Red Cross Societies and others. Numerous studies and articles on Kurdish history, language, culture and civilization.


Summary Ahmad Eskandari: Iran and the Kurds

First devision of Kurdistan 1514
Since Safavid dynasty who transformed the majority of the country into Shia Muslims and, the first division of Kurdistan as a result of battle of Chaldiran in 1514, the Iranian rulers have been using the territories of Kurdistan and its population to keep control on Iran’s western borders on one hand and to compete with the Ottoman Empire on the other hand. The Sykes – Picot agreement of 1916 did not have any effect on territories in Iranian Kurdistan. With exception of the Kurdish Republic of 1946 in Mahabad, the situation did not change for the Kurds who participated actively in the revolution of 1979 hoping to witness democracy and an end to national oppression.

Islamic Republic
The establishing of the Islamic Republic in Iran showed slowly but surely that the Kurds cannot expect a better situation under the new rulers. Encounters erupted very soon between a people who had just participated in bringing down a brutal regime and a new authoritarian regime which proved to be even more brutal than the former one. At the same time these new rulers came into conflict even with other social groups of Iranian society. The freedom lover people and organisations were severely crushed among others with mass executions in 1980s. Annihilation of all potential opposition forces aimed to show that there is no alternative to this regime.

Acute current crisis
The current situation in the country indicate an acute political, economic and social crisis following the years of war, a very expansionist view in the region both in terms of political superiority and in the religious sphere as well as resurfacing of sanctions with Donald Trump in the White House. Corruption and repression is increasing momentum. Social unrest in the country is indication for a population who has got enough.

National oppression
Kurdistan is witnessing effects of the above-mentioned condition plus all kinds of pressures related to national oppression. Any efforts or demands for democratic changes by the Kurdish women, students, workers, writers and so on is accused of being secessionist. At the same time on the Kurdish issue, the authorities and official media frighten the Iranian people of partitioning of the country and the catastrophic consequences in the failed revolutions in Arab spring countries. Even religion in Kurdistan is under pressure since the majority are Sunni Muslims.

Kurdish national movement
In order to destroy any eventual alternative force or anyone that might pave the way for that end, the Kurdish political organisations are considered as a great obstacle that needs to be undermined. The authorities use both Islamic rhetoric and Iranian nationalism to challenge the Kurdish movement. They would like to provoke military confrontation and as a result any peaceful and democratic attempt by the Kurdish activists, let be environmental, egalitarian women or workers will be stopped.

Mass strikes
Recent mass strikes throughout Kurdistan is a very good sign to say the opposite to the violence action by the Iranian regime. At the same time this is a very important message to the Kurdish political parties that the civil society is ready to participate in the struggle and asks for a common political platform with defined goals.

Aim: own independent political agenda
In the new arrangements of the international scene as well as the regional conflict of interests in the Middle East, the Kurdish actors have to be very careful to keep their own independent political agenda. Alignments should only be made if it is clear that one is not becoming a card in the game of other powers. Kurds who expect achieving their national rights have to: A)  live democratically side by side with other nations in a region saturated by different kinds of conflict and, B) cooperate with parties in other parts of Kurdistan based on mutual interests and respect.

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