Jul 18, 2013

Iranian Kurdistan: Suspicions Rise At Government Plans To Install Security Forces

The Iranian Government’s announcement of its intention of establishing a new security force in
the Western Region of the country, worries Kurdish groups and residents, who fear disguised
efforts by authorities to tighten their control.

Below is an article published by Rudaw:


Tehran’s announced intention of establishing a new security force in its western regions worries Kurdish groups and residents, who fear disguised efforts by authorities to tighten their grip on the country’s largely poor and restive Kurds.

Mohammed Hossein Rajabi, a Revolutionary Guards’ commander in Iran’s Kurdistan province, recently announced plans for the force, which he said would try and recruit Kurds and be named Razim.

Rajabi said that the new unit was recommended by Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, and would enjoy the government’s full support.

The paramilitary Revolutionary Guards – or Pasdaran -- claim that the intention behind this new force is to guarantee security and stability in the area.

But militant Iranian Kurdish groups, which have stopped armed confrontations with the Tehran regime since 1996, say the force is a smokescreen by Iran to tighten its grip on the Kurdish regions.

Iranian authorities – always wary of the country’s estimated seven million Kurds ever since crushing a 1946 uprising that briefly declared a Kurdish state and more trouble after the 1979 Islamic revolution -- are especially worried about  developments in neighboring Turkey, Syria and Iran.

“It is about Iran’s fear of an uprising in the future,” claimed Ahmed Azizi, an Iranian Kurdish political observer Syria, Iraq and Turkey all share large Kurdish minorities with Iran, where the Kurds populate the country’s poorest and most deprived regions.

Iraq’s Kurds have set up their own autonomous Kurdistan Region, Turkey is in the process of a landmark peace process to end decades of conflict with the separatist Kurdistan Workers Party. In Syria, the Kurds are demanding guarantees of self-rule, as the armed uprising against President Bashar al-Assad is in its third year, with an estimated 100,000 killed.

“All the political parties in eastern (Iranian) Kurdistan are currently engaged in civil and political activities only,” noted Brayim Zewayee, public relations officer of the Kurdistan Democratic Party of Iran (KDPI), questioning the need for the planned Razim security force.

Zewayee said that forming the unit to ensure stability is a lame excuse.

“Instead of tackling the political and economic issues, the government uses the army to impose itself,” he added.

Following the 1979 revolution that ousted the Iranian Shah the new Islamic authorities sent in troops to wrest control of the country’s western regions from armed groups, mainly KDPI, that had benefited from the turmoil of the uprising and taken brief control.

The Kurdish groups were forced to retreat after months of fierce fighting with Revolutionary Guards’ forces. In its fight against Kurdish rebel groups, the Iranian government established local paramilitary units to support the military.


Photo @flickr by Hamed Masoumi