Iran: Harsh Crackdown on the Kurdish Minority


Another wave in the arrest and imprisonment of Kurdish people in Iran has begun. In recent days, a large number of activists in fields ranging from environmental science, literature, art, business, labor rights advocacy and academia to politics have been detained, and most of them have been given long-term prison sentences.

Also, during this time, news regarding the torture of Kurdish students in Tehran University has been distributed and pressure has been mounting on the family members of the political activists.

The widening suppression of the Kurdish people comes at a time when pressures are increasing all across Iran, but despite current conditions throughout Iran, which, as in Kurdistan, are moving ever faster toward militarization, the suppression is being imposed by the government with greater impunity in Kurdistan.

Kurdistan had turned into a massive military base. Why is suppression in Kurdistan greater in comparison with that being imposed on other parts of the country? To get the answer, it is sufficient to consider the demands of the people who have been detained by the government in the past month. Those who have been arrested in the past month alone come from different social echelons, which prove the fact that struggle in Kurdistan is a mass struggle and was unlikely to have been pre-arranged. The Islamic Republic is fearful of any mass movement, and by sowing disunity and division in its tactics, it tries to suppress any form of mass movement.

Considering the fact that the demands by Kurdish people extend to overall national rights, in addition to freedom, democracy and social justice, and considering such demands are in exact contradiction to the regime’s doctrine, and considering the fact that the the movement in Kurdistan is organized, radicalized, planned and more experienced, and also considering the number of political activists across Iran, Kurdistan has managed to maintain an active role in these areas over the long term, forcing the Islamic Republic to increase and intensify its grip in an effort to suppress people all across Iran.

Also, people in Kurdistan are suffering from religious discrimination, and the Islamic Republic, by favoring Shiism, has added to religious and ethnic discrimination and tension in this area. In Iran, religious minorities are denied leadership roles, the presidency and appointment to the judiciary, and after thirty years there has not been a Sunni, let alone a Kurd, to hold a ministry position or a governorship.

Most of the people who have been detained in the past month and sentenced to imprisonment have been sentenced without evidence, and the arrests are meant to intimidate the general population. So far, revolutionary courts have accused 21 people of Moharebeh (waging war) and have sentenced them to death. Border guards and military forces are continually harassing merchants in the border areas of Kurdistan, and in the city of Mahabad, Mamosta Abdulrahman Shahi and Molla Ahmad Sanandaji, along with a number of other clerics and Sunni activists, have been detained.

Analysis by Iran Human Rights Voice