Iranian Officials Threaten the Kurdish People Following General Strike in Kurdistan
The Cooperation Center of Iranian Kurdistan’s Political Parties, of which PDKI is a founding member, called on the Kurdish people to go on strike to condemn the Iranian regime’s use of ballistic missiles against PDKI’s headquarters and the adjacent refugee camps, as well as the execution of Kurdish political prisoners, on September 8. The people of East (Iranian) Kurdistan responded to this call on September 12. Millions stayed at home, while shops and bazaars were closed across Kurdistan. The Iranian regime responded to the general strike by arresting Kurdish activists, reinforcing its military presence in major Kurdish cities, and issuing threats to shopkeepers.
Shortly following the revolution in 1979 and Ayatollah Khomeini’s declaration of jihad (“holy war”) against Kurdistan, the Kurdish political parties were declared “dissolved” by the post-revolutionary Islamist regime. The regime persisted in making such an absurd claim in spite of the fact that PDKI had won a clear majority of the votes in the first elections to the Iranian parliament in the Kurdish provinces, and notwithstanding the fact that Iran and PDKI fought a war that lasted until 1996. Since the mid-1990s, the Iranian regime’s propaganda instead centered on the claim that the Kurdish political parties lack popular support.
The strikes in Kurdistan (especially from 2008 onwards) have unnerved the Iranian regime as the first ones were organized on the anniversary of the assassination of Dr. Ghassemlou. Such instances of civil resistance and civil disobedience in Kurdistan have clearly undermined the regime’s propaganda regarding the Kurdish political parties purported lack of popular support. Aside from potentially inspiring other parts of Iran to engage in civil resistance against the regime, the Islamic Republic is worried that international coverage of the struggle in Kurdistan will eventually bring about international support for the Kurdish cause.
Consequently, on the day of the strike, the agents of the regime’s intelligence services spray-painted Xs on shuttered shops in cities across Kurdistan not only to intimidate, but also to identify them for later retribution. On social media, many drew parallels to Nazi measures against Jewish shops and businesses in Germany prior to the Second World War.
The Iranian regime has, according to preliminary reports, arrested 16 Kurdish activists for their alleged role in organizing the strike.
Furthermore, a commander of the terrorist Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, Mohammad-Hussein Rajabi, on Saturday singled out those who took part in the strike as “enemies” of the Islamic Republic, threatening to arrest the organizers of the strike, as well as to punish shopkeepers across Kurdistan.
The Iranian regime is claiming that PDKI is a threat to the “security” of Iran and justifies its missile strike on the party’s headquarters and the adjacent refugee camps by invoking “national security”. Although Kurdistan Peshmerga Forces have been deployed to Iranian Kurdistan for the past three years in order to empower the civilian population and encourage civil resistance against the regime, they have not carried out any operations against the regime’s military installations or forces in Kurdistan. In all the clashes that have occurred during this period, regime forces have either attacked or ambushed the Peshmerga forces.
Considering these realities, the fact of the matter is that it is the Iranian regime that is a threat to the security of the Kurdish people and Kurdistan, as is evident by the deliberate destruction of the environment of Kurdistan by Iranian forces.
The Iranian regime is also a threat to human security in Iran and the Middle East, which manifests itself in the thousands of imprisonments and executions of political prisoners, brutal crackdown on and killing of peaceful protesters across Iran, as well as in the regime’s involvement in the wars raging in the Middle East from Yemen to Syria.