AL-Arabia – An Iranian Kurdish journalist reported in an interview with Al Arabiya that the Iranian Revolutionary Guard forces in Iran’s Kurdistan and its recruiting forces, known as the Basij, received orders to launch a recruitment campaign in preparation for a possible war against the Kurdistan region in the event of its independence.
Azad Mustovi, an Iranian Kurdish journalist in exile in France, quoted an informed source in Kurdistan Iran, who declined to be identified for security reasons, as saying that in recent days, the headquarters of the Revolutionary Guards and the mobilization forces have launched a recruitment campaign to send troops to Iraqi Kurdistan if necessary in preparation for a possible war with the Kurdish Peshmerga of Iraq in the event of the declaration of independence of Iraqi Kurdistan.
The source added that some elements of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards of Iranian Kurds origins declared their unwillingness to fight against the Kurds of Iraq, but they are ready to fight against ISIS.
Mustovi emphasized that: “After the president of the Kurdistan region, Masoud Barzani, announced the organization of an independence referendum from Iraq on September 25th, the Iranian regime has been trying to prevent it at any cost.”
Kurds in Iran
The Kurds are the third largest ethnic group in Iran after the Persians and the Turkish Azerbaijani. They constitute a majority in three provinces: Kurdistan, Kermanshah, Elam and a minority in eastern Azerbaijan, North Khorasan Province and the rest of Iran. According to some statistics, the Kurds’ population amounts to 9 million people, which explains Iran’s concern about the independence of Iraqi Kurdistan that may raise the trend of independence among its Kurds as well.
In 1946, the Kurds in Iran formed an internal republic in Iran’s Kurdistan, dubbed the Republic of Mahabad, before the Shah of Iran Mohammad Reza Pahlavi ordered the assassination of its president Qazi Muhammad.
There are Kurdish parties fighting within Iran to establish federal rule or the right to self-determination, the most important of which is the Kurdistan Democratic Party of Iran, which was founded in 1946. It is considered to be the mother party of the Kurdish parties in the Middle East, in addition to the Komala Party of Iranian Kurdistan and the Pijak Party, an associate of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party.
The Iranian Position
With the approach of the referendum on the independence of Iraqi Kurdistan, the various Iranian military and civilian officials expressed their strong opposition to the independence of Kurdistan, the last of which was the Secretary of the Supreme National Security Council Ali Shamkhani, who said during his meeting with Kosrat Rasul Ali, the first deputy of the Iraqi Patriotic Union of Kurdistan, who has good relations with Tehran that “the independence referendum may sound like a good idea, but it will put pressure on the Kurds of Iraq, weaken Kurdistan and isolate it which will eventually weaken Iraq.”