Anadolu Agency’s Interview with Kurdish Leader Mustafa Hijri on Negotiations with Iran

In a recent interview with Anadolu Agency, Mustafa Hijri, General-Secretary of PDKI, outlined his party’s approach to negotiations with Iran. Mr. Hijiri stressed that the PDKI’s decades-long struggle aims to ultimately bring about favorable conditions for negotiations with the central government in Iran for the peaceful and just resolution of the Kurdish issue.

While raising doubts that the current regime could be a serious and reliable counterpart, he stated that entering into negotiations is conditional on recognition of the rights of the Kurdish nation under international mediation.

Mr. Hijiri is the leader of the oldest political party in Iranian Kurdistan. PDKI was founded in 1945 and has ever since been committed to a democratic and peaceful resolution of the Kurdish issue through negotiations.

Even when the PDKI officially adopted armed struggle as a method of struggle in 1973, it did so based on the notion that, as stated by former General-Secretary of PDKI Dr. Abdul Rahman Ghassemlou on numerous occasions, “we wage war in pursuit of negotiations.” The central government in Iran has never been willing to consider the Kurdish people’s demands for their human and national rights in the absence of armed struggle.

Following the revolution of 1979, the emerging Islamic regime was not willing to respect the Kurdish people’s quest for democracy and self-rule. Instead of pursuing negotiations, the new regime in Tehran undertook a military offensive against Iranian Kurdistan. However, after three months – in what has since been termed the “three months” war – in 1980, the Iranian forces were defeated by the Kurdish Peshmergas. Following that, Tehran sent a delegation to Kurdistan for negotiations. However, it turned out to be a tactical ploy. Once Iranian forces managed to reorganize, they continued with the military offensive.

In 1989, after the death of Ayatollah Khomeini, Iran’s new president Hashemi Rafsanjani offered to negotiate with Dr. Ghassemlou. During negotiations in Vienna on July 13, 1989, the Iranian diplomats assassinated Dr. Ghassemlou and his aides.

By citing these experiences, Mr. Hijri believes that the current regime in Iran cannot be treated as a reliable partner.

Mr. Hijri also said that the new President of Iran, Hassan Rouhani, is interested in negotiations with the international community to find a solution of the economic problems of the regime rather than changing Iran for the better. He also mentioned the fact that since Rouhani was elected, human rights violations in Kurdistan have persisted unabated. In particular, Mr. Hjiri referred to the execution of Kurdish political prisoners.