Aug 20, 2013

Iranian Kurdistan: Kurdish National Conference Requests Presence Of Official Iranian Delegation

The head of the Kurdish Institute in Tehran has requested that the Government of Iran send two delegations to the Kurdish National Conference set to be held next month.

Below is an article published by Rudaw:

The head of the Kurdish Institute in Tehran has asked Iran’s top officials to send a delegation to the Kurdish National Conference, which is due to take place in Erbil next month [September 2013].

“We are in negotiations with Iranian officials about their participation, and that is to give the Kurdish National Conference significance in Iran,” institute head Baram Wiladbeghi told Rudaw.

He and two Kurdish MPs in the Iranian parliament -- Jalal Jalalizadeh and Raudf Qadiri – have sent an official letter to Iran’s new President Hassan Rouhani, “to send two delegations to the congress,” Wiladbeghi said.

His hope is that a delegation of important Kurdish figures, as well as an official government delegation from Iran, will attend.

The aim of the conference, which was scheduled for August 24 but has been postponed to the first half of September, is to gather Kurdish groups around the Middle East to set a roadmap for the world’s 30 million Kurds.

With more than seven million Kurds, Iran is home to the second-largest number of Kurds in the region.

“Rouhani suggested meetings to be held with us on that issue so that we reach a working plan and so far we have met an Iranian official once with a positive outcome, and expect to meet with the vice president in the next few days,” said Wiladbeghi.

But he added that Iranian officials are unhappy with the timing of the Erbil conference, which coincides with the transfer of power in Iran from the outgoing president to Rouhani.

Wiladbeghi said that some Iranian officials have complained that Iran’s new policies still remain unclear, and therefore they cannot be expected to give a definite view on the Erbil meeting.

Kurdistan Region President Massoud Barzani met with the representatives of Kurdish political groups from across the Middle East last month to finalize the holding of a National Conference, which the Kurds have talked about intermittently for decades.

Several Iranian Kurdish parties are among the planners of the meeting, and their representatives will participate with their own agendas. But Wiladbeghi said that those parties do not represent the entire Kurdish population of Iran.

“When we speak of a National Conference we should also keep in mind that those parties do not represent the entire Kurdish nation,” he said.  

He believes that representatives of Iran’s Kurdish students, lawyers, civil servants as well Shiite and Yarsan communities should attend the meeting.

“But in the end what is important is for this congress to become the beginning of a dialogue between the Kurds and the Iranian authorities,” Wiladbeghi said. 

“The congress would also be a great opportunity to raise the Kurdish question in Iran with the country’s new president,” he added.