A Note about the Controversial Kurdistan Autonomy Plan
یادداشتی درباره طرح بحث انگیز خودمختاری کردستان
"Their demolished doors and walls are breaking on my head ..." Nima Yushij
My dear friend, Abdullah Mohtadi, following criticisms from Iran's countrywide political movement concerning the new agreement of Kurdistan Democratic Party of Iran and Komala Party of Iranian Kurdistan, has said in a recent interview that his plan for Iran's Kurdistan is to create a Kurdish region from several provinces where the Kurds currently live in Iran and has described this region as part of the future federal system of Iran. It is not important whether such a region is defined within ethnic federalism (1) or provincial federalism (2) or as an autonomous region in Iran with a centralized government. The result will be an autonomous region for the Kurds whether we call the Kurds an ethnic group or a nation. The discussion is neither about federalism nor the definition of ethnic groups or nations.
Iran's countrywide movement in reaction to this accord of Kurdish parties has pushed aside any review of plans for federalism for Iran's future (3). The basis of the proposed joint communiqué of the two Kurdish parties is to have the Kurdish people live in the autonomous region rather than in provinces that would be home to people of various ethnic backgrounds willing to work for democracy and progress regardless of ethnicity, race or nationality. In other words, this is a retrogressive plan to return to the autonomous rule of the Ardalans of feudal Iran before the time of Nasereddin Shah of Qajar (4).
It is true that the Kurdistan Regional Government of Iraq today has such a status and may even become an independent republic. But this has been the result of the particular situation of US attack of Iraq and US support of the Kurdish parties that believed in autonomous Kurdistan during that war. Separation of Northern Azerbaijan from Iran also occurred following the war between Iran and Russia during the reign of Fat′h-Ali Shah Qajar, and after the fall of Soviet Union, it became an independent republic.
One cannot view such historical events as a reason to justify plans for autonomous regions in Iran or in any other country. The result of such plans is to prevent people with diverse racial, ethnic and national backgrounds from growing together (5). Examples in many African, Asian and European countries can be seen where the outcome has been nothing but local retrogressive dictatorships, and this is the reason why Iran's pro-democracy movement condemns separatism (6).
About 65 years ago, the Mahabad Republic proposed this same program of autonomy for Kurdistan and a group of the most educated elite of Kurdistan participated in it; Abdollah Mohtadi's father was one of the cabinet ministers of Ghazi Mohammad's government. The Mahabad government, which came to power with the support of Stalin's USSR , was smashed by Iran's army following an agreement between Truman and Stalin, and the government was not supported by nationalist forces and even leftist groups of other parts of Iran. A similar event with a similar mistake happened at the same time in Azerbaijan, and the result was the confrontation of two parts of Iran's political and civil movement at that time.
During 1979 Revolution the same mistake was repeated and some of the opinion leaders of Kurdistan, such as the respected Abdolrahman Ghassemlou, again came forward with the slogan of "Democracy for Iran, Autonomy for Kurdistan." Although in the first anniversary of the revolution, Kurdistan Democratic Party and Komala Party were able to take over the power in Mahabad and Sanandaj but their negotiations with Iran's provisional government of Mehdi Bazargan, to continue as an autonomous government based on the 26 point proposal of the Kurdish delegation, did not succeed. With the fall of the semi-liberal government in Tehran the plans of attacking Kurdistan became more serious and at the end with the start of Iran-Iraq War, the civil and political movement of Kurdistan was practically wiped off even though it was supported by the movement from other parts of Iran.
Neither at the time of Ghazi Mohammad nor at the time of the 1979 Revolution nor at the present time has the choosing of the path of retrogressive autonomy by some of the political elite of Kurdistan been because of foreign powers, although depending on their interests at each historical turn, they may have supported such plans. This does not go back to the Mahabad Republic but goes back further to the time of Ismaiil Agha Simku, who at the time of Iran's Constitutional Movement fought against the Iranian constitutionalists and also worked for the British to secure their oil wells in Kirkuk of Iraq.
Kurdish leaders from the time of Ghazi Mohammad until the present time basically were neither dependent on foreign powers like Ismaiil Agha Simku nor were they anti-constitutionalist like him, but their mistake was to choose an erroneous and retrogressive program of autonomy for Kurdistan. Isn't it time to work together with the rest of the pro-democracy movement encompassing all of Iran for the prosperity and happiness of Iran in a society formed by a rainbow of ethnic and national backgrounds?
Sam Ghandchi, Editor/Publisher
Oct 18, 2012