Today marks the 71th anniversary of our party, the Democratic Party of Iranian Kurdistan. For the past 71 years, thousands of brave women and men in the PDKI have sacrificed their lives in pursuit of the legitimate national rights of the Kurdish people, human dignity, liberty, secularism, democracy, gender equality and social justice. During the past two years, our party has embarked on new strategy of linking the struggle of our Peshmerga Forces in the mountains with the resistance of the civilian population in the cities against the brutal regime in Iran. This summer, several brave Peshmergas sacrificed their lives to that end. We renew our commitment to continue the struggle of our fallen Peshmergas.
Our party, PDKI, is the oldest Kurdish political party. It was founded in the city of Mahabad in eastern (Iranian) Kurdistan on August 16, 1945.
Three years earlier, the founding members of the PDKI had established an organization called Komalay Ziyanaway Kurd (The Society for Kurdish Resurrection).
Komalay Ziyanaway Kurd was transformed into PDKI in order to create an organization with the capacity to attract the broader strata of Kurdish population. PDKI was established with the purpose of creating a modern, popular political party with an explicit commitment to democracy, liberty, social justice and gender equality.
Only 159 days after its foundation, PDKI founded the Republic of Kurdistan. This was the party’s first and, as it turned out later, major historical achievement. Kurdish became the official language of the republic and the Peshmerga Forces of Kurdistan was for the first time created as a Kurdish army. Kurdish newspapers and magazines flourished in the republic. Gender equality was made a top priority, especially education for girls. It was during this time that the Democratic Women’s Union of Kurdistan was established.
The republic was an island of liberty and democracy. However, the dictatorial regime in Tehran managed to re-occupy Kurdistan after eleven months, which resulted in the demise of the Republic of Kurdistan.
In spite of being short-lived, the Republic of Kurdistan is a millstone in Kurdish history and it is a point of reference for other Kurdish movements in other parts of Kurdistan in pursuit of the Kurdish nation’s legitimate right to self-determination.
Following the re-occupation of Kurdistan in 1946, President Qazi Muhammad and other members of his cabinet were executed by the former Iranian regime. Although PDKI was banned, some members of the party managed to take refuge in southern (Iraqi) Kurdistan. They managed to keep the party alive and continued the struggle against the dictatorship in Iran.
In 1967-68, a new leadership of the party waged guerilla warfare against the Iranian army. Many members of the leadership and the Peshmerga Forces lost their lives in battle. In 1973, Dr. Ghassemlou returned from Europe and was elected as the party’s leader.
Following the revolution in 1979 in Iran, PDKI took part in the first election to the Iranian Majlis (parliament) and won a clear majority of the votes in Kurdistan. However, the Islamists hijacked the revolution and established a religious dictatorship. PDKI called on the Kurdish people to boycott a referendum that gave citizens in Iran the false choice of either voting for the authoritarian monarchy (which had been overthrown) or the Islamic Republic. PDKI and other progressive forces wanted democracy for Iran and self-rule for the oppressed nations of the country. Given the ideological differences between PDKI and the emerging Islamist regime, Ayatollah Khomeini could not tolerate PDKI and other Kurdish organizations and subsequently declared Jihad (“holy war”) against the Kurdish people.
Khomeini’s declaration of Jihad was followed by a military offensive to re-occupy Kurdistan. The Iranian forces were defeated after three months of intense fighting in the spring of 1979. PDKI agreed to negotiations with the regime. This was consistent with a core principle of the party, namely that the Kurdish issue is ultimately to be resolved peacefully and through negotiations. As it turned out, the Iranian regime only negotiated to play for time in order to prepare for the next military offensive.
A full-scale war was imposed on the Kurdish people. This war lasted until the mid-1990s. Aside from the deaths of thousands of brave Peshmergas in this war, the Islamist regime in Tehran, which uses terrorism and assassination as its core strategy, had instructed its diplomats to assassinated Dr. Ghassemlou during peace talks in Vienna on July 13, 1989. In September 1992, Iranian terrorists also assassinated Dr. Sharafkandi in Berlin. The Iranian regime’s intelligence agency and proxies also assassinated 151 officials of our party in southern Kurdistan. Furthermore, Iranian agents assassinated members of our party in Turkey and Sweden during the 1990s.
In 2004, a new leadership was elected that has taken important steps toward reinvigorating the struggle against the Islamist regime in Tehran. The most important one of these was the decision in 2015 to re-establish bases in the mountains of Kurdistan located between southern and eastern Kurdistan, as well as to deploy our Peshmerga Forces to eastern Kurdistan.
In the summer of 2016, several of our brave Peshmergas were martyred in eastern Kurdistan in clashes with the military forces of the racist and theocratic regime of Iran. After suffering heavy casualties at the hands of our Peshmerga Forces, the cowardly Iranian forces also shelled Kurdish villages and civilian populated areas in both eastern and southern Kurdistan, which resulted in civilian casualties. Our Peshmergas are ready to make the necessary sacrifices in pursuit of the rights and dignity of the Kurdish nation.
Unfortunately, the Middle East is a region where democratic forces like our party are forced to take up arms in order to pursue political goals and objectives. After two decades of attempts to engage in civil resistance against the dictatorship in Iran, we have realized that it is only by giving priority to our Peshmerga Forces that we can effectively struggle for the rights of the Kurdish people, as well as for democracy in Iran.
On the occasion of the 71th anniversary of our party, we renew our commitment to continue the struggle of our fallen Peshmergas until the national rights of the Kurdish nation are attained!
Scroll through our history by clicking on the arrows to the right and left in the timeline below.