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Iranian Kurdistan (Kurdish: کوردستانی ئێران Kurdistanî Iran)[1] or Kurdistana Rojhilat (Eastern Kurdistan) [2] or Rojhilatê Kurdistan (East of Kurdistan) [3], formerly: Persian Kurdistan) is an unofficial name for the parts of Iran inhabited by Kurds and has borders with Iraq and Turkey. It includes the greater parts of West Azerbaijan province, Kurdistan Province, Kermanshah Province and Ilam Province . Kurds form the majority of the population of this region [4] with an estimated population of 4 million.[5] The region is the eastern part of the greater cultural-geographical area called Kurdistan and is referred to as Eastern Kurdistan by some.

It is noteworthy, that from the estimated 4 million Iranian Kurds, who are mainly Sunnis, 1,555,000 of them are Shia Kermanshahi Kurds.

Iranian or Eastern Kurdistan is not to be confused with the Kordestan province in Iran which only encompasses one-eighth of the Kurdish inhabited areas of Iran or Iranian Kurdistan.

Contents

History

For the origin of Kurds see History of the Kurds and Kurds article.

A very early record of confrontation between the Kurds and the Sassanid Empire appears in a historical text called the Book of the Deeds of Ardashir son of Babak. The book explains the life of "Ardashir Papagan" or Ardashir I of Persia, the founder of the Sassanid Dynasty, and is written in the Pahlavi language. In this book, the author explains the battle between Kurdish King Madig and Ardashir [6].

Iranian emperor Ardashir I is believed to be standing here in this relief at Taq-e Bostan. On the left is an Iranian Izad (god), on the right is Kayus of Kermanshah, and below him is Haftanbokht.

According to Dehkhoda Dictionary, Ardashir was the son of a Kurdish mother from Shabankareh tribe in the Fars Province [7], others historical documents such as Fars-nama(ca. 1107 CE) and Maslik al-absar of al-Umari do not consider Shabankareh as Kurdish and differentiate between Shabankareh and Kurds and the Kurdish history of Sharafnama (written by Sharaf al-Din Bitlisi in 16th century), does not mention Shabankareh among the Kurdish dynasties [8]. Moreover, modern scholars are of the opinion that the Kurds mentioned in Islamic and Persian sources as living in south and southwest Persia (Fars) were probably not true Kurds, but nomadic tribes speaking southwest Iranian dialects related to modern Luri and Persian[9].

One of the most significant kingdoms within Ardeshir I's dynasty was known as the House of Kayus (also Kâvusakân) and remained a semi-independent Kurdish kingdom lasting until A.D. 380 before Ardashir II removed the dynasty's last ruling member.[10]

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Medieval Kurdish Dynasties

From 10th century to 12th century A.D., two Kurdish dynasties were ruling this region, the Hasanwayhid (959-1015) and the Ayyarids (990-1117) (in Kermanshah, Dinawar,Ilam and Khanaqin). The Ardalan state which was established in early 14th century, controlled the territories of Zardiawa (Karadagh), Khanaqin, Kirkuk, Kifri, and Hawraman. The capital city of the state was first in Sharazour in present-day Iraqi Kurdistan, but was moved to Sinne(Sanandaj) (in present-day Iran) later on. The Ardalan Dynasty continued to rule the region until the Qajar monarch Nasser-al-Din Shah(1848-1896) ended their rule in 1867 CE.

Seljukid and Khwarazmid Period

In 12th century CE, Sultan Sanjar, created a province called Kurdistan centered at Bahar located to the northeast of Hamadan. This province included Hamadan, Dinawar, Kermanshah, Sanandaj and Sharazur. It was ruled by Sulayman, the nephew of Sanjar. In 1217, Kurds of Zagros defeated the troops of Ala ad-Din Muhammad II, the Khwarazmid King, who were sent from Hamadan[8].

Safavid Period

According to Encyclopaedia of Islam, the Safavid family hailed from Iranian Kurdistan, and later moved to Azarbaijan. They finally settled in the 11th century C.E. at Ardabil [11]. During Safavid rule, the government tried to extend its control over Kurdish inhabited areas in western Iran. At that time, there were a number of semi-independent Kurdish emirates such as the Mukriyan (Mahabad), Ardalan (Sinne), and Shikak tribes around Lake Urmiye and northwest Iran. Kurds resisted this policy and tried to keep some form of self-rule. This led to a series of bloody confrontations between the Safavids and the Kurds. The Kurds were finally defeated, and as a result the Safavids decided to punish rebellious Kurds by forced relocation and deportation of Kurds in 15-16th century. This policy began under the reign of the Safavid King Tahmasp I (r. 1514-1576).

Between 1534 and 1535, Tahmasp I began the systematic destruction of the old Kurdish cities and the countryside. Large numbers of Kurds from these areas found themselves deported to the Alborz mountains and Khorasan (Khurasan), as well as the heights in the central Iranian Plateau; . At this time the last remnant of the ancient royal Hadhabâni (Adiabene) tribe of central Kurdistan was removed from the heartland of Kurdistan and deported to Khorasan, where they are still found today. See [12] and [13] under the title "Khurasani Kurdish Dances".

Battle of Dimdim

There is a well documented historical account of a long battle in 1609-1610 between Kurds and the Safavid Empire. The battle took place around a fortress called Dimdim located in Beradost region around Lake Urmia in northwestern Iran. In 1609, the ruined structure was rebuilt by "Emîr Xan Lepzêrîn" (Golden Hand Khan), ruler of Beradost, who sought to maintain the independence of his expanding principality in the face of both Ottoman and Safavid penetration into the region. Rebuilding Dimdim was considered a move toward independence that could threaten Safavid power in the northwest. Many Kurds, including the rulers of Mukriyan (Mahabad), rallied around Amir Khan. After a long and bloody siege led by the Safavid grand vizier Hatem Beg, which lasted from November 1609 to the summer of 1610, Dimdim was captured. All the defenders were massacred. Shah Abbas ordered a general massacre in Beradost and Mukriyan (reported by Eskandar Beg Turkoman, Safavid Historian in the Book "Alam Aray-e Abbasi") and resettled the Turkish Afshar tribe in the region while deporting many Kurdish tribes to [Khorasan]. Although Persian historians (like Eskandar Beg ) depicted the first battle of Dimdim as a result of Kurdish mutiny or treason, in Kurdish oral traditions (Beytî dimdim), literary works (Dzhalilov, pp. 67–72), and histories, it was treated as a struggle of the Kurdish people against foreign domination. In fact, Beytî dimdim is considered a national epic second only to Mem û Zîn by Ehmedê Xanî (Ahmad Khani). The first literary account of Dimdim battle was written by Faqi Tayran [14] [15][16].

The Khurasani Kurds are a community of nearly 1.7 million people deported from western Kurdistan to North Khorasan, (northeastern Iran) by Persia during the 16th to 18th centuries [17]. For a map of these areas see [18].

Afghan and Afshar Periods

Kurds took advantage of the Afghan invasion of Safavid realm in the early 18th century, and conquered Hamadan and penetrated to the area near Isfahan. Nader Shah sought to suppress a Kurdish rebellion in 1747, but he was assassinated before completing the expedition. After Nadir's death, Kurdish tribes exploited the power vacuum and captured parts of Fars.[19].

Qajar Period

In 1880, Shaykh Ubaydullah, a Kurdish leader, engaged in a series of revolts against the Iranian government. These revolts were successfully suppressed by the Qajar Kings, and this was one of the Iran's few victories during the Qajar period (See Amanat, Abbas. Pivot of the Universe: Nasir al-Din Shah Qajar and the Iranian Monarchy, 1831-1896. London: I. B. Tauris, 1997, p. 408). In early 20th century, Ismail Agha Simko took advantage of the chaotic situation in the aftermath of World War I, and rebelled against the Iranian government. He was finally defeated by Reza Shah Pahlavi [20].

Kurds in Modern Iran

Major Ethnic Groups of Iran

Simko Revolts Against Reza Shah

The weakness of the Persian government during World War I encouraged some Kurdish chiefs to take advantage of the chaotic situation. Simko chief of the Shikak tribe, established his authority in the area west of Lake Urmia from 1918 to 1922. Jaafar Sultan of Hewraman region also took control of the region between Marivan and north of Halabja and remained independent until 1925. In 1922, Reza Khan (who later became the first Pahlavi monarch), took action against Kurdish leaders. Simko was forced to abandon his region in Fall 1922, and spent eight years in hiding. When the Iranian government persuaded him to submit, he was ambushed and killed around Ushno (Oshnaviyeh) in 1930. After this, Reza Shah pursued a crude but effective policy against the Kurds. Hundreds of Kurdish chiefs were deported and forced into exile. Their lands were also confiscated by the government [21][22].

World War II

When Allied troops entered Iran in September 1941, the Persian Army was quickly dissolved and their ammunition was seized by the Kurds. Sons of Kurdish chiefs seized the opportunity and escaped from their exile in Tehran. A Kurdish chief from Baneh, named Hama Rashid took control of Sardasht, Baneh and Mariwan in western Iran. He was finally driven out of the region by the Persian Army in the Fall of 1944 [23].

Republic of Kurdistan in Mahabad

Although Iran had declared its neutrality in the Second World War, it was occupied by Allied forces. With support from the Soviet Union, a Kurdish state was created in the city of Mahabad in 1946 by the Kurdish Movement Komeley Jiyanewey Kurd under the leadership of Qazi Muhammad. Since the minuscule entity extended no further than the small cities of Mahabad, Bukan, Naqada, and Oshnaviyeh in Iran, not even all of Iranian Kurdistan supported the experiment, let alone the Kurds in other states [24]. The Republic of Mahabad, as it is often called, lasted less than a year, as the end of the war and the withdrawal of the occupying Soviet forces allowed the central government to defeat the separatists and return Kurdistan to Iran.

The Islamic Revolution and The Kurds

Another wave of nationalism engulfed eastern Kurdistan after the fall of the Pahlavi Dynasty in the winter of 1979, and as a result Ayatollah Khomeini, the new religious leader of Iran, declared a jihad (holy war) against separatism in Iranian Kurdistan[25]. The crisis deepened after Kurds were denied seats in the assembly of experts gathering in 1979, which were responsible for writing the new constitution. Ayatollah Khomeini prevented Dr. Ghassemlou, the elected representative of the region to participate in the assembly of experts’ first meeting [26]. Kurds were therefore deprived of their political rights under the new Iranian constitution, since the majority of them belonged to the Sunni branch of Islam. In the spring of 1980, government forces under the command of President Abolhassan Banisadr conquered most of the Kurdish cities through a huge military campaign, sending in mechanized military divisions to Kurdish cities including Mahabad, Sanandaj, Pawe, and Marivan [27].

Kurdish political organizations were enthusiastic supporters of the revolution against the Shah, which brought Ayatollah Khomeini to power in 1979. The Shah had shown himself to be no friend of Kurdish aspirations for greater autonomy and a loosening of Tehran's control over their affairs. From the early days of the revolution, relations between the central government and Kurdish organizations have been fraught with difficulties. The Kurds, with their different language and traditions and their cross-border alliances, were seen as vulnerable to exploitation by foreign powers who wished to destabilize the young republic. Sunni Kurds, unlike the overwhelming majority of their countrymen, abstained from voting to endorse the creation of an Islamic republic in April 1979. That referendum institutionalized Shia primacy and made no provision for regional autonomy. As early as 1979 armed conflict broke out between armed Kurdish factions and the Iranian government's security forces. The Kurdish forces included primarily the Democratic Party of Iranian Kurdistan (KDPI) and the leftist Komala (Revolutionary Organization of Kurdish Toilers)[28]. In a speech, Ayatollah Khomeini called the concept of ethnic minority contrary to Islamic doctrines. He also accused those who do not wish Muslim countries to be united in creating the issue of nationalism among minorities. His views were shared by many in the clerical leadership [29].

The new leadership had little patience for Kurdish demands and opted for crushing unrest through military means. On August 17 1979, Ayatollah Khomeini declared holy war against the Kurdish and non-Kurdish organizations fighting with the central government. Entire villages and towns were destroyed to force Kurds into submission [30]. Ayatollah Khalkhali, sentenced thousands of men to execution after summary trials without regard for the rights of the accused. The Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps fought to reestablish government control in the Kurdish regions. As a result more than 10,000 Kurds were killed [31].

It is also notable that Shia Kermanshahi Kurds, with the population of 1,550,000, have no interest in autonomy.[32][33]

1996 Demonstrations

On December 2, 1996, the death of a prominent Sunni clergy, Mulla Mohammed Rabiei in Kermanshah led to violent clashes between Sunni Kurds and the security forces. Mulla Rabiei was the prayer leader in the Al-Shafe'i mosque in Kermanshah. The protests continued for three days and spread to neighboring towns in the region [34].

Khatami Period

A view of Sanandaj, the second major city in Persian Kurdistan.

In 1997, Sunni Kurds like many other Iranians took part in the presidential election. Both civilian and military Kurdish opposition groups requested Kurds not to be indifferent toward the election. President Khatami praised the glory of Kurdish culture and history. From Kurdish side, the demands were mainly related to the Kurdish language and top-level officials. In his first term, Khatami appointed Abdollah Ramezanzadeh to be the first Kurdish governor of the Iranian province of Kurdistan. He also appointed several Sunni and Shia Kurds as his own or cabinet member’s advisors. In his second term, Khatami had two Kurdish cabinet members; both of them were Shia. The increased presence of Kurdish representatives in the sixth parliament led to expectations that some of the voters’ demands would be met. After the first round, in which 18 Kurds were elected, one candidate said that he expected there would be more Kurdish instruction at the university in Sanandaj, and he called on the Khatami government to have more Kurdish officials. Subsequently, a 40-member parliamentary faction representing the predominantly Kurdish provinces of Kurdistan, and Kermanshah was formed[35]. However, there were many other civilian Kurdish activists who did not join the reform movement. Mohammad Sadiq Kaboudvand was among the latter who started an independent human right association to defend the right of Kurdish people.

1999 Demonstrations

In February 1999, Kurdish nationalists took to the streets in several cities such as Mahabad, Sanandaj and Urmia and staged mass protests against the government and in support of Abdullah Ocalan. This was viewed as trans-nationalization of the Kurdish movement [36]. These protests were violently suppressed by the government forces. According to Human rights groups, at least 20 people were killed [37].

Discrimination against Sunni Muslims

In present-day Iran, while Shi'a religious institutions are encouraged, Sunni institutions are blocked. In 1993 a newly constructed Sunni mosque in Sanandaj was destroyed by a mob of Shi'a zealots. Despite the fact that more than one million Sunnis live in Tehran, many of them Kurds, no Sunni mosque exists to serve their religious needs[38]. In a rare public protest, eighteen Sunni parliamentarians wrote to the authorities in July 2003 to criticize the treatment of the Sunni Muslim community and the refusal to allow construction of a mosque in Tehran that would serve that community[39].

The Shivan Qaderi incident

On July 9, 2005, a Kurdish opposition activist, Shivan Qaderi [40] (also known as Shwane Qadri or Sayed Kamal Asfaram) and two other Kurdish men were shot by Iranian security forces in Mahabad. According to witnesses, the security forces then tied Qaderi's body to a Toyata jeep and dragged it through the streets. Iranian authorities confirmed that Qaderi, "who was on the run and wanted by the judiciary", was shot and killed while allegedly evading arrest.

For the next six weeks, riots and protests erupted in Kurdish towns and villages throughout Eastern Kurdistan such as Mahabad, Sinne (Sanandaj), Sardasht, Piranshahr (Xanê), Oshnavieh (Şino), Baneh, Bokan and Saqiz [41] (and even inspiring protests in southwestern Iran and in Baluchistan in eastern Iran) with scores killed and injured, and an untold number arrested without charge. The Iranian authorities also shut down several major Kurdish newspapers arresting reporters and editors.

In 13 March 2006, Saleh Nikbakht, a well-known Iranian human right lawyer who is Mr Qaderi's lawyer announced that Qaderi's murderer was a member of Police who shot the victim illegally. He also added that the murderer and the one who ordered the act are under investigations and the judiciary system has been cooperative up to now. Previously government authorities accused Qaderi of "moral and financial violations." Saleh Nikbakht rejected all these allegations.

Major cities

List of Famous Iranian Kurds

Video Links

See also

References

  1. ^ www.amude.com
  2. ^ Dema Nû - Lokman POLAT - HEWESA MIN
  3. ^ Gelawej / Kurmanci
  4. ^ Keith Stanley McLachlan, "The Boundaries of Modern Iran ", Published by UCL Press, 1994. pg 55
  5. ^ The Historical Dictionary of Iran, J. Lorentz, 1995, p172.
  6. ^ [1] Karnamak Ardashir Papagan,Chapter 5.
  7. ^ Dehkhoda Dictionary, by Dehkhoda. Library of Congress Title: Lughatʹnāmah / taʾlīf-i Dihkhudā ; [zīr-i naẓar-i Muḥammad Muʻīn]. Library of Congress Call Number: AE36 .D4 Pers. Entry for (کرد).
  8. ^ a b [2]
  9. ^ John Limbert, The origins and appearance of the Kurds in pre-Islamic Iran, Iranian Studies, Vol. 1, No.2, pp.41-51, Spring 1968, p.48
  10. ^ KEO - CULTURE - National Characters, Kurdish calendar
  11. ^ [3]
  12. ^ Keo - History
  13. ^ Iran
  14. ^ DIMDIM
  15. ^ ISBN 0-89158-296-7
  16. ^ O. Dzh. Dzhalilov, Kurdski geroicheski epos "Zlatoruki Khan" (The Kurdish heroic epic "Gold-hand Khan"), Moscow, 1967, pp. 5-26, 37-39, 206.
  17. ^ Izady, Mehrdad, H. ,The Kurds: A Concise Handbook, Crane Russak, 1992
  18. ^ http://www.lib.utexas.edu/maps/commonwealth/commonwealth_islamic_groups.jpg
  19. ^ D. McDowall, A Modern History of the Kurds, I.B. Tauris Publishers, ISBN 1850434166, p. 67
  20. ^ [4], p.25
  21. ^ W. G. Elphinston,The Kurdish Question, Journal of International Affairs, Royal Institute of International Affairs, 1946, p.97
  22. ^ [5]
  23. ^ W. G. Elphinston,The Kurdish Question, Journal of International Affairs, Royal Institute of International Affairs, 1946, p.97-98
  24. ^ 403 Forbidden
  25. ^ [6]
  26. ^ Ali Reza Nourizadeh (Persian - Arabic - English)
  27. ^ rev6
  28. ^ D. and in khorasan [Cultural & Civil society of Khorasani Kurds, www.cskk.org]. McDowall,A Modern History of the Kurds, 1996, Chapter 13, "Subjects of the Shi'i Republic," pp. 261-287. -
  29. ^ Ayatollah Khomeini's Speech, Radio Tehran, December 17, 1979. Quoted in David McDowall, A Modern History of the Kurds (London: I.B. Tauris, 1996, p. 271
  30. ^ [7]
  31. ^ Are Kurds a pariah minority? | Social Research | Find Articles at BNET.com
  32. ^ The Kurdish Nationalist Movement by David Romano, page 235
  33. ^ A Modern History of the Kurds by McDowall, page 270
  34. ^ IRAN
  35. ^ Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa and the Middle East - Sign In Page
  36. ^ Natali, D., Manufacturing Identity and Managing Kurds in Iraq, Turkey and Iran: A Study in Evolution of Nationalism, PhD Dissertation in Political Science, University of Pennsylvania, 2000, p.238
  37. ^ Iran : Country Reports on Human Rights Practices - 1999, Released by the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, U.S. Department of State, February 23, 2000.
  38. ^ IRAN
  39. ^ Microsoft Word - egypt.doc
  40. ^ PJAK
  41. ^ Iran Focus-Iran sends in troops to crush border unrest - Iran (General) - News

External links

Democratic Party of Iranian Kurdistan


This article is part of the
Kurdish history and Culture series
Ancient history
Medieval history
Modern history
Culture

Iranian Kurdistan (Kurdish: کوردستانی ئێران Kurdistanî Iran) is an unofficial name for the parts of Iran inhabited by Kurds and has borders with Iraq and Turkey. It includes the western and southern parts of West Azerbaijan province, Kurdistan Province, Kermanshah Province and Ilam Province.

It is noteworthy, that from the estimated 5 to 7 million Iranian Kurds, who are mainly Sunnis, 1,555,000 of them are Shia Kermanshahi Kurds.It is also notable that Shia Kermanshahi Kurds have no interest in autonomy.[1][2].

Contents

History

For the origin of Kurds see History of the Kurds and Kurds article.

A very early record of confrontation between the Kurds and the Sassanid Empire appears in a historical text called the Book of the Deeds of Ardashir son of Babak. The book explains the life of "Ardashir Papagan" or Ardashir I of Persia, the founder of the Sassanid Dynasty, and is written in the Pahlavi language. In this book, the author explains the battle between Kurdish King Madig and Ardashir [3].

is believed to be standing here in this relief at Taq-e Bostan. On the left is an Iranian Izad (god), on the right is Kayus of Kermanshah, and below him is Haftanbokht.]]

According to Dehkhoda Dictionary, Ardashir was the son of a Kurdish mother from Shabankareh tribe in the Fars Province [4], others historical documents such as Fars-nama(ca. 1107 CE) and Maslik al-absar of al-Umari do not consider Shabankareh as Kurdish and differentiate between Shabankareh and Kurds and the Kurdish history of Sharafnama (written by Sharaf al-Din Bitlisi in 16th century), does not mention Shabankareh among the Kurdish dynasties [5]. Moreover, modern scholars are of the opinion that the Kurds mentioned in Islamic and Persian sources as living in south and southwest Persia (Fars) were probably not true Kurds, but nomadic tribes speaking southwest Iranian dialects related to modern Luri and Persian[6].

One of the most significant kingdoms within Ardeshir I's dynasty was known as the House of Kayus (also Kâvusakân) and remained a semi-independent Kurdish kingdom lasting until A.D. 380 before Ardashir II removed the dynasty's last ruling member.[7]

Medieval Kurdish Dynasties

From 10th century to 12th century A.D., two Kurdish dynasties were ruling this region, the Hasanwayhid (959-1015) and the Ayyarids (990-1117) (in Kermanshah, Dinawar, Ilam and Khanaqin). The Ardalan state which was established in early 14th century, controlled the territories of Zardiawa (Karadagh), Khanaqin, Kirkuk, Kifri, and Hawraman. The capital city of the state was first in Sharazour in present-day Iraqi Kurdistan, but was moved to Sinne(Sanandaj) (in present-day Iran) later on. The Ardalan Dynasty continued to rule the region until the Qajar monarch Nasser-al-Din Shah(1848–1896) ended their rule in 1867 CE.

Seljukid and Khwarazmid Period

In 12th century CE, Sultan Sanjar, created a province called Kurdistan centered at Bahar located to the northeast of Hamadan. This province included Hamadan, Dinawar, Kermanshah, Sanandaj and Sharazur. It was ruled by Sulayman, the nephew of Sanjar. In 1217, Kurds of Zagros defeated the troops of Ala ad-Din Muhammad II, the Khwarazmid King, who were sent from Hamadan[5].

Safavid Period

According to Encyclopaedia of Islam, the Safavid family hailed from Iranian Kurdistan, and later moved to Azarbaijan. They finally settled in the 11th century C.E. at Ardabil [8]. During Safavid rule, the government tried to extend its control over Kurdish inhabited areas in western Iran. At that time, there were a number of semi-independent Kurdish emirates such as the Mukriyan (Mahabad), Ardalan (Sinne), and Shikak tribes around Lake Urmiye and northwest Iran. Kurds resisted this policy and tried to keep some form of self-rule. This led to a series of bloody confrontations between the Safavids and the Kurds. The Kurds were finally defeated, and as a result the Safavids decided to punish rebellious Kurds by forced relocation and deportation of Kurds in 15-16th century. This policy began under the reign of the Safavid King Tahmasp I (r. 1514-1576).

Between 1534 and 1535, Tahmasp I began the systematic destruction of the old Kurdish cities and the countryside. Large numbers of Kurds from these areas found themselves deported to the Alborz mountains and Khorasan (Khurasan), as well as the heights in the central Iranian Plateau; . At this time the last remnant of the ancient royal Hadhabâni (Adiabene) tribe of central Kurdistan was removed from the heartland of Kurdistan and deported to Khorasan, where they are still found today. See [9] and [10] under the title "Khurasani Kurdish Dances".

Battle of Dimdim

There is a well documented historical account of a long battle in 1609-1610 between Kurds and the Safavid Empire. The battle took place around a fortress called Dimdim located in Beradost region around Lake Urmia in northwestern Iran. In 1609, the ruined structure was rebuilt by "Emîr Xan Lepzêrîn" (Golden Hand Khan), ruler of Beradost, who sought to maintain the independence of his expanding principality in the face of both Ottoman and Safavid penetration into the region. Rebuilding Dimdim was considered a move toward independence that could threaten Safavid power in the northwest. Many Kurds, including the rulers of Mukriyan (Mahabad), rallied around Amir Khan. After a long and bloody siege led by the Safavid grand vizier Hatem Beg, which lasted from November 1609 to the summer of 1610, Dimdim was captured. All the defenders were massacred. Shah Abbas ordered a general massacre in Beradost and Mukriyan (reported by Eskandar Beg Turkoman, Safavid Historian in the Book "Alam Aray-e Abbasi") and resettled the Turkish Afshar tribe in the region while deporting many Kurdish tribes to [Khorasan]. Although Persian historians (like Eskandar Beg ) depicted the first battle of Dimdim as a result of Kurdish mutiny or treason, in Kurdish oral traditions (Beytî dimdim), literary works (Dzhalilov, pp. 67–72), and histories, it was treated as a struggle of the Kurdish people against foreign domination. In fact, Beytî dimdim is considered a national epic second only to Mem û Zîn by Ehmedê Xanî (Ahmad Khani). The first literary account of Dimdim battle was written by Faqi Tayran [11] [12][13].

The Khurasani Kurds are a community of nearly 1.7 million people deported from western Kurdistan to North Khorasan, (northeastern Iran) by Persia during the 16th to 18th centuries [14]. For a map of these areas see [15].

Afghan and Afshar Periods

Kurds took advantage of the Afghan invasion of Safavid realm in the early 18th century, and conquered Hamadan and penetrated to the area near Isfahan. Nader Shah sought to suppress a Kurdish rebellion in 1747, but he was assassinated before completing the expedition. After Nadir's death, Kurdish tribes exploited the power vacuum and captured parts of Fars.[16].

Qajar Period

In 1880, Shaykh Ubaydullah, a Kurdish leader, engaged in a series of revolts against the Iranian government. These revolts were successfully suppressed by the Qajar Kings, and this was one of the Iran's few victories during the Qajar period (See Amanat, Abbas. Pivot of the Universe: Nasir al-Din Shah Qajar and the Iranian Monarchy, 1831-1896. London: I. B. Tauris, 1997, p. 408). In early 20th century, Ismail Agha Simko took advantage of the chaotic situation in the aftermath of World War I, and rebelled against the Iranian government. He was finally defeated by Reza Shah Pahlavi [17].

Kurds in Modern Iran

Major Ethnic Groups of Iran

Simko Revolts Against Reza Shah

The weakness of the Persian government during World War I encouraged some Kurdish chiefs to take advantage of the chaotic situation. Simko chief of the Shikak tribe, established his authority in the area west of Lake Urmia from 1918 to 1922. Jaafar Sultan of Hewraman region also took control of the region between Marivan and north of Halabja and remained independent until 1925. In 1922, Reza Khan (who later became the first Pahlavi monarch), took action against Kurdish leaders. Simko was forced to abandon his region in Fall 1922, and spent eight years in hiding. When the Iranian government persuaded him to submit, he was ambushed and killed around Ushno (Oshnaviyeh) in 1930. After this, Reza Shah pursued a crude but effective policy against the Kurds. Hundreds of Kurdish chiefs were deported and forced into exile. Their lands were also confiscated by the government [18][19].

World War II

When Allied troops entered Iran in September 1941, the Persian Army was quickly dissolved and their ammunition was seized by the Kurds. Sons of Kurdish chiefs seized the opportunity and escaped from their exile in Tehran. A Kurdish chief from Baneh, named Hama Rashid took control of Sardasht, Baneh and Mariwan in western Iran. He was finally driven out of the region by the Persian Army in the Fall of 1944 [20].

Republic of Kurdistan in Mahabad

Although Iran had declared its neutrality in the Second World War, it was occupied by Allied forces. With support from the Soviet Union, a Kurdish state was created in the city of Mahabad in 1946 by the Kurdish Movement Komeley Jiyanewey Kurd under the leadership of Qazi Muhammad. Since the minuscule entity extended no further than the small cities of Mahabad, Bukan, Naqada, and Oshnaviyeh in Iran, not even all of Iranian Kurdistan supported the experiment, let alone the Kurds in other states [21]. The Republic of Mahabad, as it is often called, lasted less than a year, as the end of the war and the withdrawal of the occupying Soviet forces allowed the central government to defeat the separatists and return Kurdistan to Iran.

The Islamic Revolution and The Kurds

Another wave of nationalism engulfed eastern Kurdistan after the fall of the Pahlavi Dynasty in the winter of 1979, and as a result Ayatollah Khomeini, the new religious leader of Iran, declared a jihad (holy war) against separatism in Iranian Kurdistan[22]. The crisis deepened after Kurds were denied seats in the assembly of experts gathering in 1979, which were responsible for writing the new constitution. Ayatollah Khomeini prevented Dr. Ghassemlou, the elected representative of the region to participate in the assembly of experts’ first meeting [23]. Kurds were therefore deprived of their political rights under the new Iranian constitution, since the majority of them belonged to the Sunni branch of Islam. In the spring of 1980, government forces under the command of President Abolhassan Banisadr conquered most of the Kurdish cities through a huge military campaign, sending in mechanized military divisions to Kurdish cities including Mahabad, Sanandaj, Pawe, and Marivan [24].

Kurdish political organizations were enthusiastic supporters of the revolution against the Shah, which brought Ayatollah Khomeini to power in 1979. The Shah had shown himself to be no friend of Kurdish aspirations for greater autonomy and a loosening of Tehran's control over their affairs. From the early days of the revolution, relations between the central government and Kurdish organizations have been fraught with difficulties. The Kurds, with their different language and traditions and their cross-border alliances, were seen as vulnerable to exploitation by foreign powers who wished to destabilize the young republic. Sunni Kurds, unlike the overwhelming majority of their countrymen, abstained from voting to endorse the creation of an Islamic republic in April 1979. That referendum institutionalized Shia primacy and made no provision for regional autonomy. As early as 1979 armed conflict broke out between armed Kurdish factions and the Iranian government's security forces. The Kurdish forces included primarily the Democratic Party of Iranian Kurdistan (KDPI) and the leftist Komala (Revolutionary Organization of Kurdish Toilers)[25]. In a speech, Ayatollah Khomeini called the concept of ethnic minority contrary to Islamic doctrines. He also accused those who do not wish Muslim countries to be united in creating the issue of nationalism among minorities. His views were shared by many in the clerical leadership [26].

The new leadership had little patience for Kurdish demands and opted for crushing unrest through military means. On August 17, 1979, Ayatollah Khomeini declared holy war against the Kurdish and non-Kurdish organizations fighting with the central government. Entire villages and towns were destroyed to force Kurds into submission [27][verification needed]. Ayatollah Khalkhali, sentenced thousands of men to execution after summary trials without regard for the rights of the accused. The Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps fought to reestablish government control in the Kurdish regions. As a result more than 10,000 Kurds were killed [28][unreliable source?][neutrality is disputed].

It is also notable that Shia Kermanshahi Kurds, with the population of 1,550,000, have no interest in autonomy.[1][2]

1996 Demonstrations

On December 2, 1996, the death of a prominent Sunni clergy, Mulla Mohammed Rabiei in Kermanshah led to violent clashes between Sunni Kurds and the security forces. Mulla Rabiei was the prayer leader in the Al-Shafe'i mosque in Kermanshah. The protests continued for three days and spread to neighboring towns in the region [29].

Khatami Period

, the second major city in Persian Kurdistan.]] In 1997, Sunni Kurds like many other Iranians took part in the presidential election. Both civilian and military Kurdish opposition groups requested Kurds not to be indifferent toward the election. President Khatami praised the glory of Kurdish culture and history. From Kurdish side, the demands were mainly related to the Kurdish language and top-level officials. In his first term, Khatami appointed Abdollah Ramezanzadeh to be the first Kurdish governor of the Iranian province of Kurdistan. He also appointed several Sunni and Shia Kurds as his own or cabinet member’s advisors. In his second term, Khatami had two Kurdish cabinet members; both of them were Shia. The increased presence of Kurdish representatives in the sixth parliament led to expectations that some of the voters’ demands would be met. After the first round, in which 18 Kurds were elected, one candidate said that he expected there would be more Kurdish instruction at the university in Sanandaj, and he called on the Khatami government to have more Kurdish officials. Subsequently, a 40-member parliamentary faction representing the predominantly Kurdish provinces of Kurdistan, and Kermanshah was formed[30]. However, there were many other civilian Kurdish activists who did not join the reform movement. Mohammad Sadiq Kaboudvand was among the latter who started an independent human right association to defend the right of Kurdish people.

1999 Demonstrations

In February 1999, Kurdish nationalists took to the streets in several cities such as Mahabad, Sanandaj and Urmia and staged mass protests against the government and in support of Abdullah Ocalan. This was viewed as trans-nationalization of the Kurdish movement [31]. These protests were violently suppressed by the government forces. According to Human rights groups, at least 20 people were killed [32].

Discrimination against Sunni Muslims

In present-day Iran, while Shi'a religious institutions are encouraged, Sunni institutions are blocked. In 1993 a newly constructed Sunni mosque in Sanandaj was destroyed by a mob of Shi'a zealots. Despite the fact that more than one million Sunnis live in Tehran, many of them Kurds, no Sunni mosque exists to serve their religious needs[33]. In a rare public protest, eighteen Sunni parliamentarians wrote to the authorities in July 2003 to criticize the treatment of the Sunni Muslim community and the refusal to allow construction of a mosque in Tehran that would serve that community[34].

The Shivan Qaderi incident

On July 9, 2005, a Kurdish opposition activist, Shivan Qaderi [35] (also known as Shwane Qadri or Sayed Kamal Asfaram) and two other Kurdish men were shot by Iranian security forces in Mahabad. According to witnesses, the security forces then tied Qaderi's body to a Toyata jeep and dragged it through the streets. Iranian authorities confirmed that Qaderi, "who was on the run and wanted by the judiciary", was shot and killed while allegedly evading arrest[citation needed].

For the next six weeks, riots and protests erupted in Kurdish towns and villages throughout Eastern Kurdistan such as Mahabad, Sinne (Sanandaj), Sardasht, Piranshahr (Xanê), Oshnavieh (Şino), Baneh, Bokan and Saqiz [36] (and even inspiring protests in southwestern Iran and in Baluchistan in eastern Iran) with scores killed and injured, and an untold number arrested without charge[citation needed]. The Iranian authorities also shut down several major Kurdish newspapers arresting reporters and editors[citation needed].

In 13 March 2006, Saleh Nikbakht, a well-known Iranian human right lawyer who is Mr Qaderi's lawyer announced that Qaderi's murderer was a member of Police who shot the victim illegally. He also added that the murderer and the one who ordered the act are under investigations and the judiciary system has been cooperative up to now[citation needed]. Previously government authorities accused Qaderi of "moral and financial violations." Saleh Nikbakht rejected all these allegations.

Political Prisoners and Executions

Kurds have suffered a long history of discrimination in Iran. In a report released in 2008, Amnesty International said that Kurds have been a particular target of the Islamic Republic of Iran and the Kurds' "social, political and cultural rights have been repressed, as have their economic aspirations."[37] As a result, many human rights activists in Iran often shift their focus to specifically identify the Iranian authorities' violations of human rights against the Kurdish minority. However, according to Amnesty International, those activists who do "link their human rights work – drawing attention to the government’s failure to observe international human rights standards - to their Kurdish identity they risk further violations of their rights."[37]

At the beginning of the 21st century, a number of Kurdish activists, writers, and teachers have been arrested for their work and were sentenced to death.[38] The increase is likely due to the government's crackdown following the nationwide protests after Iran's presidential elections. Even before the elections, Kurdish rebel groups - specifically the Party for a Free Life in Kurdistan or PJAK - have taken up arms against the state.

In November 2009, Iran executed Ehsan Fattahian - the first of over a dozen political prisoners on death row - despite an international campaign calling for his release.[39] Authorities accused Fattahian of carrying arms for an "illegal organization" and sentenced to several years in prison. Fattahian never confessed to carrying arms and was not given a fair trial nor was he permitted access to his lawyer and the Komala - the illegal organization he was accused of associating with - claimed that he had left the group a long time ago. Fattahian attempted to appeal, and when he did so, he was sentenced to death for "enmity against God".[40] His execution was condemned by human rights groups and activists internationally.

In January 2010, Iran executed a second Kurdish political prisoner, Fasih Yasamani, for "enmity against God". Like Fattahian, Yasamani was tortured and authorities tried to force him to confess but he refused. He was also denied a fair trial.[41]

Without notifying the families or lawyers of the political prisoners, Iranian authorities ordered the execution of 4 more Kurdish political prisoners - Ali Heydarian, Farhad Vakili, Mehdi Eslamian, Shirin Alam Hooli, and Farzad Kamangar, a teacher who received a lot of attention internationally following his arrest - in Iran on May 9, 2010. The four political prisoners suffered severe torture at the hands of Iranian authorities and were also forced to confess their memberships in an illegal organization - namely PJAK. None of the activists were given fair trials nor did they have access to their lawyers. Amnesty International described the executions as "a blatant attempt to intimidate members of the Kurdish minority"[42] All activists denied any links to PJAK and the leader of PJAK also denied any links to the 4 activists[43]

Despite repeated international calls demanding the release or retrial of these 4 political prisoners, all were executed without any prior notice or warning. Following the executions, Iranian authorities refused to return the bodies of those executed to their families.[44]

As of May 2010, there are at least 16 other Kurdish political prisoners on death row. Not one case has been noted to have received a fair trial.

Major cities

List of Famous Iranian Kurds

  • Khana Qubadi, (1700–1759), Kurdish poet.
  • Mastoura Ardalan, (1805–1848), Kurdish poet and historiographer.
  • Wafaei, (1844–1902), Kurdish poet.
  • Qazi Muhammad, (1893–1947) President of the Kurdish Republic of Mahabad.
  • Hejar (Abdurrahman Sharafkandi), (1920–1990), Kurdish Poet, Writer, Translator and Linguist.
  • Hemin Mukriyani (Hêmin Mukriyanî ), (1921–1986), Kurdish Journalist and Poet.
  • Hesen Zirek, (1921–1972) renowned Kurdish musician.
  • Sadeq Sharafkandi, (1938–1992), Kurdish politician
  • Karim Hisami, (1926–2001), Kurdish writer.
  • Abdul Rahman Ghassemlou, (1930–1989), Kurdish politician
  • Amir Hassanpour, (1943- ), Kurdish scholar and researcher, Canada.
  • Roya Toloui, (1966- ), Kurdish journalist and human rights activist, Iran.
  • Bahman Ghobadi, film director.
  • Kajal Monireh Rahmani, also known as Dr. Kajal(1941- ), first "Kurdish Anthropology professor in the western world, philosopher, pioneer in scholarly debating "Kurdish National Rights", linguist, polyglot,and author of several papers on "Ethnic/ National Question and the New World Order".
  • Shahram Nazeri, famous musician
  • Bahaoddin Adab, (1945- ), President of Engineering Council of Iran and a former member of Iran's parliament.
  • Muhammad Qazi, renowned translator and writer.
  • Ali Ashraf Darvishian, renowned writer and a member of Iran's Association of writers.
  • Jamil Rostami, film director.
  • Abdol-Hamid Heyrat Sajjadi, prominent historian.
  • Gholamreza Khan Arkawazi, Kurdish poet(18th century).
  • Abdul Jabbar kakaei,Kurdish poet
  • Foad Mostafa Soltani (1948–1979),Former leader of Komala political party
  • Jamshid (musician) (Jamshid Moghadam), a famous pop Iranian singer of Sanandaj.
  • Admiral Bayandor (1898–1941), Iranian navy commander killed during Anglo-Soviet invasion of Iran.
  • Aziz Khan Rahmani Kurdistani (1920- ), Kurdish and Iranian's national Wrestling Champion, Winner of Gold medal, Tehran,1945.
  • Colonel Esmail Rahmani, (1925–1993), Iranian Army Commander, and Author of two books "Xaterate Nezamie Man" and "Share Man Sanadaj".
  • Sediq Azar Anjiri (1930-unknown), Kurd from Mangor,Scholar, Theoretician, polyglot,Translator of French Philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre's famous book"La Nausée" into Persian. He joined the 1960s Shoresh/ Kurdish uprising in Iraq and was killed.
  • Amin Rizwan, (1985-), Ayatollah Khameni's Advisor PDKI.
  • Farzad Kamangar, (1978–2010), a teacher and Kurdish human rights activist. He was arrested by Iranian authorities in 2006 and sentenced to death for "enmity against God" in a show trial. He was one of 6 Kurdish activists executed in 7-month period.

Video Links

See also

References

  1. ^ a b The Kurdish Nationalist Movement by David Romano, page 235
  2. ^ a b A Modern History of the Kurds by McDowall, page 270
  3. ^ [1] Karnamak Ardashir Papagan,Chapter 5.
  4. ^ Dehkhoda Dictionary, by Dehkhoda. Library of Congress Title: Lughatʹnāmah / taʾlīf-i Dihkhudā ; [zīr-i naẓar-i Muḥammad Muʻīn]. Library of Congress Call Number: AE36 .D4 Pers. Entry for (کرد).
  5. ^ a b [2][dead link]
  6. ^ John Limbert, The origins and appearance of the Kurds in pre-Islamic Iran, Iranian Studies, Vol. 1, No.2, pp.41-51, Spring 1968, p.48
  7. ^ KEO - CULTURE - National Characters, Kurdish calendar
  8. ^ [3][dead link]
  9. ^ Keo - History
  10. ^ Iran
  11. ^ DIMDIM
  12. ^ ISBN 0-89158-296-7
  13. ^ O. Dzh. Dzhalilov, Kurdski geroicheski epos "Zlatoruki Khan" (The Kurdish heroic epic "Gold-hand Khan"), Moscow, 1967, pp. 5-26, 37-39, 206.
  14. ^ Izady, Mehrdad R.,The Kurds: A Concise Handbook, Taylor & Francis, Washington, D.C., 1992
  15. ^ http://www.lib.utexas.edu/maps/commonwealth/
  16. ^ D. McDowall, A Modern History of the Kurds, I.B. Tauris Publishers, ISBN 1-85043-416-6, p. 67
  17. ^ [4], p.25
  18. ^ W. G. Elphinston,The Kurdish Question, Journal of International Affairs, Royal Institute of International Affairs, 1946, p.97
  19. ^ [5]
  20. ^ W. G. Elphinston,The Kurdish Question, Journal of International Affairs, Royal Institute of International Affairs, 1946, p.97-98
  21. ^ 403 Forbidden
  22. ^ [6]
  23. ^ Ali Reza Nourizadeh (Persian - Arabic - English)
  24. ^ rev6
  25. ^ D. and in khorasan [Cultural & Civil society of Khorasani Kurds, www.cskk.org]. McDowall,A Modern History of the Kurds, 1996, Chapter 13, "Subjects of the Shi'i Republic," pp. 261-287. -
  26. ^ Ayatollah Khomeini's Speech, Radio Tehran, December 17, 1979. Quoted in David McDowall, A Modern History of the Kurds (London: I.B. Tauris, 1996, p. 271
  27. ^ [7][dead link]
  28. ^ Are Kurds a pariah minority? | Social Research | Find Articles at BNET.com
  29. ^ IRAN
  30. ^ Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa and the Middle East - Sign In Page
  31. ^ Natali, D., Manufacturing Identity and Managing Kurds in Iraq, Turkey and Iran: A Study in Evolution of Nationalism, PhD Dissertation in Political Science, University of Pennsylvania, 2000, p.238
  32. ^ Iran : Country Reports on Human Rights Practices - 1999, Released by the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, U.S. Department of State, February 23, 2000.
  33. ^ IRAN
  34. ^ Microsoft Word - egypt.doc
  35. ^ PJAK
  36. ^ Iran Focus-Iran sends in troops to crush border unrest - Iran (General) - News
  37. ^ a b http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/asset/MDE13/088/2008/en/d140767b-5e45-11dd-a592-c739f9b70de8/mde130882008eng.pdf
  38. ^ https://www.amnesty.org/en/news-and-updates/news/kurdish-man-imminent-risk-execution-iran-20100122
  39. ^ http://www.rferl.org/content/Iran_Executes_Kurdish_Political_Activist/1875171.html
  40. ^ http://www.amnesty.org/en/news-and-updates/news/iran-executes-kurdish-man-20091111
  41. ^ http://canadafreepress.com/index.php/article/18675
  42. ^ http://www.amnesty.org.au/news/comments/23014/
  43. ^ http://www.presstv.ir/detail.aspx?id=126079&sectionid=351020101
  44. ^ http://www.nytimes.com/2010/05/12/world/middleeast/12iran.html

External links

Democratic Party of Iranian Kurdistan


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