73rd Anniversary of the Democratic Party of Iranian Kurdistan
Today marks the 73rd anniversary of the Democratic Party of Iranian Kurdistan, or PDKI. The 73rd anniversary of PDKI was celebrated at one of the party’s bases in Kurdistan.
Mustafa Hijri, the leader of PDKI, delivered a speech on the occasion of the 73rd anniversary of the party, in which he outlined the different stages of the party’s struggle in pursuit of Kurdish national rights, liberty, democracy, and gender equality. He praised the sacrifices of the Peshmerga Forces of Kurdistan and the Kurdish people and vowed that the PDKI will continue the struggle until victory is achieved.
Mr. Hijri highlighted the current stage in the party’s struggle, known as “Rasan”, which in Kurdish means standing up to your enemy with a vengeance. Rasan has, he reminded, two important pillars: the presence of Peshmerga in eastern (Iranian) Kurdistan as well as the civil resistance of the Kurdish people against the dictatorship and oppressive policies of the Islamic Republic of Iran.
Mr. Hijri spoke of the “symbiotic relation between Kurdistan’s Peshmerga Forces and the people of eastern Kurdistan”. He went on to add that “they both empower each other in the struggle for the attainment of Kurdish national rights and human dignity”.
In his speech, Mr. Hijri reflected upon the decision to embark on the current stage of the party’s struggle known as Rasan. It was a difficult yet proactive decision following nearly two decades in which the PDKI halted the armed struggle and mainly focused on clandestine organizational activities in eastern Kurdistan and diplomacy in Western Europe, Australia and North America.
Mr. Hijri said that thanks to the presence of our Peshmergas, who have been warmly embraced by the civilian population in eastern Kurdistan, PDKI has gained in strength and the Kurdish people have been empowered to engage in civil resistance against the Islamist regime in Iran.
During the last three years, 37 brave Peshmergas have lost their lives in PDKI’s reinvigorated struggle in pursuit of the liberation of the Kurdish people. Mr. Hijri praised the sacrifices of Kurdistan’s Peshmerga Forces, but he also thanked the Kurdish people for their support for Peshmerga and for their bravery in engaging in civil resistance against the Islamist regime on important national occasions, such as Newroz.
Mr. Hijri concluded his speech by referring to the current situation in Iran. He said that since December 2017, Iranians in the central parts of Iran have also embarked on their own version of resistance against the Islamist regime in Tehran by continuously staging demonstrations in a majority of the cities and towns of Iran.
“Iran’s current crises are multifaceted and interrelated,” Mr. Hijri emphasized. “After four decades, we are witnessing the gradual collapse of the Islamic Republic [of Iran]”, he added.
The PDKI leader also took issue with those who reduce the protests in Iran to economic grievances, thus either deliberately (as in the case of regime apologists in the West) or unwittingly (as in the case of commentators with no access to or knowledge about Iran) divert attention from or downplay the political demand for regime change by the Iranian population.
The regime itself knows that the question is not only a matter of economic grievances. People are opposed to the Islamic Republic in its totality, which Iranian citizens rightly regard as the root cause of the multifaceted internal and external crises that Iran are embroiled in. As a case in point, Mr. Hijri referred to the so-called reformist Mohammad Khatami, a former president of the Islamist regime, who in the face of the Iranian population’s calls for regime change urged all the factions of the regime to unite in order to save the Islamic Republic from collapse.
Mr. Hijri expressed PDKI’s readiness for cooperation and coalition-building with other Iranian forces as long as they are committed to democracy and power-sharing, recognition of the multinational character of Iran, and accommodation of the Kurdish nation’s quest for self-rule.
Since its establishment in 1945, PDKI has continuously struggled for the rights and dignity of the Kurdish nation. While established in eastern Kurdistan, the party’s influence has reached other parts of Kurdistan as well. For example, one year following its establishment, PDKI founded the short-lived Republic of Kurdistan, which has been a source of inspiration for Kurdish organizations in other parts of Kurdistan in their pursuit of Kurdish national rights and the right to self-determination.
PDKI has also introduced modern norms of civilized politics in the Middle East – a region dominated by aggressive ideologies and plagued by chronic conflicts. Aside from emphasizing the holding of party congresses to promote internal democracy, PDKI has consistently called for toleration of diversity and peace, while promoting gender equality and constructive relations with democratic countries.
For example, following the Iranian revolution, when the U.S. embassy was stormed and its personnel taken hostage for 444 days by Islamists, PDKI was the only political organization in Iran that publicly condemned the act as a violation of international law and diplomatic norms. The Peshmerga Forces have also always respected the laws of war when engaged in armed struggle against the Islamic Republic of Iran.
PDKI has thus been a force not only for the liberation of the Kurdish people, but also a political force with a vision to transform Kurdistan and Iran into an important country in the Middle East in order to contribute to regional peace and stability.