The Progressive Alliance organized a Parliamentarian Conference on 17-18 October, 2016, at the European Parliament in Brussels entitled “For a New Agenda for Peace and Justice”. Mustafa Hijri, Secretary General of the Democratic Party of Iranian Kurdistan (PDKI), delivered the following speech during the second session of the conference devoted to the topic “Current Political Situation in the Middle East”:
Ladies and gentlemen,
Thank you for giving me the opportunity to address the current situation in the Middle East. I will focus on Iran’s role in the region and the struggle of the Kurdish nation.
The Iranian regime regards itself as God’s government on earth. Therefore, this regime believes to be entitled to a superior position, inside as well as outside of Iran. This is reflected in the ideology and worldview of the Iranian regime, in its treatment of the different nations living within the borders of Iran, and in its treatment of dissidents. It is also reflected in the regime’s hegemonic policies outside of Iran, in its exportation of the Islamic revolution, in its nuclear ambitions, and in other destructive policies of this regime during the past 37 years.
The internal policies of the Islamist regime in Iran have resulted in violations of human rights, in poverty, in widespread social problems, in staggering corruption, and in factional infighting over power in pursuit of the plundering of the state’s resources and assets. The external policies of the regime have resulted in the worsening of sectarian conflict and war, in terrorism, and in destruction. As a result, the Islamist regime in Iran has gained a destabilizing influence in the Middle East region. It is for these reasons that we, as the Democratic Party of Iranian Kurdistan, say that as long as the Islamic Republic exists, the Middle East will not achieve lasting peace and meaningful stability.
Therefore, it is not realistic to expect that the citizens of Iran will achieve their rights under this regime. This is particularly true for the Kurds nation, because from the very beginning when this regime came to power, it has viewed us as an enemy, as counter-revolutionary, as agents of the enemies of Iran, and even as enemies of Islam. For example, this regime has declared “jihad” or holy war against us.
Based on our experience of 37 years of struggle against this regime, we believe that achieving rights in Iran can be accomplished in two ways.
First, by overthrowing the regime and establishing a democratic government in which all the different nations of the country participate.
Second, by creating a wide and strong opposition whereby all citizens of Iran who want freedom, and especially the oppressed nations of Iran, join forces in order to pose a serious challenge to the regime.
We have two cases where the regime has backed down and compromised. In both cases, it faced serious challenges to its survival.
First, following eight years of war between Iran and Iraq, which resulted in great human and material costs, the survival of the Iranian regime was at stake. As a result, Khomeini accepted UN Security Council Resolution 598 which, in his own words, was like “drinking poison.”
Second, when international sanctions in response to the Islamist regime’s nuclear weapons program affected Iran to the extent that they endangered the survival of the regime, supreme leader Khamenei was willing to accept the conditions of the international community and Iran signed the nuclear agreement.
There are no other ways to achieve rights in Iran other than those mentioned. Those who hope that civil resistance or complaints at the United Nations about human rights violations will compel the Iranian regime to change its policies, have the wrong expectations.
The Iranian regime does not allow any form of civil resistance. In fact, we have seen increased violations of human rights and executions in Iran.
There is a simple reason for why this is the case; the Iranian regime is fundamentally opposed to the idea of human rights as understood in the civilized world and as defined in the charter of the United Nations.
Therefore, it is not realistic to expect that the Iranian regime will respect human rights when it does not believe in them as a matter of principle.
Based on this analysis, as well as the demands of the Kurdish people in eastern Kurdistan that we should intensify our struggle against the Islamic Republic, the leadership of our party became convinced of the necessity of increasing the presence of our Peshmerga Forces among the Kurdish people.
The increased presence of our Peshmerga Forces among the people will strengthen the morale of the civilian population. Our Peshmerga Forces and the party will organize and lead the civilian population in the struggle against the regime. In this way, our Peshmerga Forces and the civilian population will combine their forces against the Iranian regime. Our goal is to link the struggle of our Peshmerga Forces in the mountains with the struggle of the civilian population in the cities.
In addition, we want to tell the outside world that the Islamic Republic is not the “Island of stability” it propagates to attract multinational corporations to invest in Iran. At the same time, we want to demonstrate that the Iranian regime’s claims about the dissolution of the Kurdish opposition forces are false.
We want to present an alternative to the existing regime when it insists that the people have no other choice but to accept its backward and antihuman laws. We want to give the people hope about a democratic future as an alternative to the dictatorship of the Islamic Republic.
This process will give morale and new strength to freedom fighters and political activists, and especially activists of national rights, but also encourage them to participate in the struggle more directly. In this way, the opposition against the regime will grow stronger.
The new policy of our party has received broad support among the Kurdish people, and especially among the younger generation. This has created fear in the Islamic Republic. As expected, Iranian officials and military officials in the Islamic Revolutionary Guards have in their media outlets, in their parliament and during Friday prayers described our new struggle as an American, Israeli and Saudi conspiracy.
We want to, once again, assure those who are under the influence of the regime’s propaganda that we have embarked on this new struggle based on the analysis of our party’s leadership, and in response to the demands of the Kurdish people. Our struggle will contribute to the struggle of all freedom fighters against the dictatorship in Iran.
Therefore, we expect freedom fighters in all parts of Iran to support us in this historical struggle against the dictatorship of the Islamic Republic and in the struggle for liberty and democracy. Together we can end the dictatorship in Iran and replace it with a democratic government that respects our rights and truly represents the will of all the nations living in Iran.
We hope that the progressive and democratic forces of the world, especially our sister parties, support us in this struggle for a better future for our region and for the rights of the Kurdish nation.