WASHINGTON, D.C. – In a Thursday presentation at the London Center for Policy Research in Washington, D.C., Salah Bayaziddi, a representative of the Komala Party of Iranian Kurdistan to the United States, explained that President Obama missed a historic opportunity to effect positive change in Iran when he refused to support the Green Revolution in Iran in June 2009.
“The disappointment over President Obama’s silence in 2009 is still being felt by those in Iran who want to obtain freedom from the religious clerics that continue to dominate Iranian Islamic Republic,” he said.
“The Iranian government constantly tells the people of Iran that United States and the western powers will eventually be gone from the region but we (the militant Iranian government) will still be here.”
Truly mastering Middle Eastern politics demands understanding the Kurds, an ethnically distinct 10-12 million people that form a culturally distinct majority population known as “Greater Kurdistan” that is spread out among four different countries: southeastern Turkey (Northern Kurdistan), northern Syria (Western Kurdistan), northern Iraq (Southern Kurdistan), and northwestern Iran (Eastern Kurdistan).
Bayaziddi explained the Komala Party is a Kurdish nationalist political party based in Iranian and Iraqi Kurdistan, that has been persecuted by the Iranian Islamic Republic since the 1979 revolution inspired by Ayatollah Khomeini.
“We would like the Trump administration and the American people to support Iranian Kurdistan in our resistance to Iran,” he responded, distinguishing that his goal was not to form a new nation that united the Kurdish people into a new Kurdistan.
“We would like to have a united Kurdistan, of course, combining the Kurds in Iraq, Iran, Turkey, and Syria, but we are realistic and we realize that a united Kurdistan is not today likely to happen today,” he noted several times in response to questions.
“Today the Iraqi Kurds are very strong economically and politically, with the international community supporting the Iraqi Kurds largely because of their participation in the fight against ISIS,” Bayaziddi noted.
“But still it is very difficult for the Kurds to declare independence across the region, and especially in Iran where we are seeing the rise of Persian nationalism and Iran is a Shi’ite Muslim country,” he explained.
“Kurds include both Shi’ite and Sunni Muslims and that makes it difficult for Kurds to assimilate or to declare independence in Iran, or in a country like Syria, where Shi’ite Muslims are a minority, but a strong minority given Iran’s support for the Assad regime,” he continued.
He stressed that Iraq is really three countries in one, with Kurds in the north, Sunnis in central Iraq, and Shi’ites in southern Iraq.
“The prospects are unlikely for a Mega-Kurdistan to form today,” he emphasized. “We have solidarity with Kurds in other countries, but we don’t want to interfere with their agenda.”
He argued the Iranian revolution in 1979 placed radical Islamic terrorists on center stage throughout the region as a whole, with Iran assuming the role of terror-master in the Middle East and “the mother” of radical Islamic terrorism spreading worldwide.
“The Komala Party is fighting for a free and prosperous Iran that is at peace with its neighbors,” he explained. “We fight for a decentralized, democratic Iran where human rights are preserved, and the rights of religious and ethnic minorities are respected.”
He further explained the Komala party was formed as a leftist party in the late 1960s, that has de-emphasized the ideological orientation of the party as the Komala party has advocated for democratic political processes in Iran, as well as for the preservation of religious and ethnic human rights.
“We are fighting for Kurdish rights in Iran and we are not focused on Kurdish independence from Iran, a goal we do not believe is politically achievable at this time,” he stressed. “The decentralized Iran we seek is very difficult to achieve because the Iranian Islamic Republic sees Kurds as a threat and suppresses democracy movements within.”
He noted 57 Kurds are currently under death sentences in Iran, while Kurdish activists who are arrested by the government disappear in prisons where they are tortured, with many never to be seen in public again.
A referendum vote for the formation of an independent Iraqi Kurdistan has been scheduled to occur in Iraq’s autonomous Kurdish region in northern Iraq, on Sept. 25, 2017, in a move not directly supported by the Komala Party in Iran.