Struggle for Kurdish self-determination in Iran

Democratic Party of Iranian Kurdistan (PDKI) is founded in Mahabad, Iran, on August 16, 1945. In January 22, 1946, it establishes a republic of Kurdistan.

The republic lasts no more than 11 months. Following a pact signed by the Iranian central government and the Soviet Union, the Iranian army launches its offensive into the region. Many are imprisoned and twenty of its leaders and activists are hanged.

Less than two years later, PDKI starts its political and organizational activities anew, striking roots in most parts of Iranian Kurdistan.

Following the coup d’état against the Mossadegh government in 1953, where democratic rights and freedoms of the peoples throughout Iran are suppressed, PDKI’s activities come almost to a standstill. A great number of Party activists are either imprisoned or go underground.

Two widespread police raids against the Party in 1959 and 1964 deal heavy blows to its organization: some 300 Party activists are imprisoned, with an even greater number fleeing Iran.

Nevertheless, the Democratic Party of Iranian Kurdistan embarks on the task of reviving its organization. In 1967-68, a large number of its members and high-ranking cadres start an armed insurrection – lasting 18 months – against the Shah’s regime. This armed movement lacks a safe rear zone; the Shah’s regime crushes it.

The Kurdish people in Iranian Kurdistan and PDKI play an active part in the Iranian people’s uprising against the Shah’s dictatorship. A group of PDKI leaders, living in exile either in neighbouring countries or in Europe, return to Iran before the collapse of the monarchy, actively participating in the uprising of the Kurdish people.

The uprising of the Iranian peoples having succeeded, Democratic Party of Iranian Kurdistan declares its public activities in a meeting held in Mahabad, attended by representatives from all parts of Iranian Kurdistan.

Despite the Democratic Party of Iranian Kurdistan’s sincere endeavours to settle its differences over the democratic rights and freedoms of the Kurdish people peacefully with the newly established regime in Tehran, the rulers reject it. Instead, following a ‘fatwa’ issued by ayatollah Khomeini, the Iranian armed forces embark on a widespread offensive against the Kurdish population, shelling and bombing villages and towns of Kurdistan.
On 13 July 1989, Abdul Rahman Ghassemlou, secretary-general of PDKI, and two of his aides, are assassinated in Vienna as they are negotiating with the diplomats of the Iranian regime at the latter’s invitation. Ghassemlou’s successor, Sadegh Sharafkandi meets the same fate on 17 September 1992 in Berlin where he attends the Congress of the Socialist International.
During the 20th Congress of the Socialist International held in the UN headquarters in New York (9-11 September 1996), Democratic Party of Iranian Kurdistan is given the status of observer member. In 2008, PDKI’s membership is elevated to consultative status.

The main principles of the Democratic Party of Iranian Kurdistan (PDKI):

– PDKI believes in the peaceful resolution of the just Kurdish cause through constructive dialogue, and remains faithful to this civilized principle.
– PDKI utilizes all forms of struggle that are compatible with Party’s political and ideological roots as well as international norms to realize its national objectives.
– PDKI considers the oppressed nations of Iran and other democratic forces as its strategic ally and stresses on the intertwining relationship and co-struggle of the Iranian nations.
– PDKI is committed to its independence stance, and refrains from meddling in the affairs of other forces and stresses on the mutual respect and cooperation.
– PDKI is committed to the respects of all human rights and finds itself to be on the front of progressive forces and against terrorism.
– PDKI welcomes the democratisation process on the basis that only a federal democratic system can guarantee the full rights of the deprived nations of Iran including the Kurdish nation.


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