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|1979 Kurdish rebellion in Iran|
|Part of Consolidation of the Iranian Revolution and Kurdish separatism in Iran|
The epicenter of insurrection
|Commanders and leaders|
|Unknown|| 7,000 (according to the KDPI) |
A few captured tanks and light artillery pieces, recoilness guns and machine guns
|Casualties and losses|
|3,000+ killed (Iranian Government claim)||5,000 killed (Iranian Government claim)||–10,000 killed|
The 1979 Kurdish rebellion in Iranerupted in mid-March 1979, some two months after the completion of the Iranian Revolution. It subsequently became the largest among the nationwide uprisings in Iran against the new state and one of the most intense Kurdish rebellions in modern Iran. Initially, Kurdish movements were trying to align with the new government of Iran, seeking to emphasize their Muslim identity and seek common ground with other Iranians. KDPI even briefly branded itself as non-"separatist" organization, allegedly criticizing those calling for independence, but nevertheless calling for political autonomy. However, relations between some Kurdish organizations and the Iranian government quickly deteriorated, and though Shi'a Kurds and some tribal leaders turned towards the new Shi'a Islamic State, Sunni Kurdish leftists continued the nationalist project in their enclave in Kurdistan Province.
The consolidation of the Iranian Revolution refers to a turbulent process of Islamic Republic stabilization, following the completion of the revolution. After the Shah of Iran and his regime were overthrown by revolutionaries in February 1979, Iran was in a "revolutionary crisis mode" from this time until 1982 or 1983. Its economy and the apparatus of government collapsed. Military and security forces were in disarray.
Kurdish separatism in Iran or the Kurdish–Iranian conflict is an ongoing, long running, separatist dispute between the Kurdish opposition in Western Iran and the governments of Iran, lasting since the emergence of Reza Shah Pahlavi in 1918.
While at first, Kurdish militants, primarily of the Democratic Party of Iranian Kurdistan, made some territorial gains in the area of Mahabad and ousted the Iranian troops from the region, a large scale offensive in spring 1980 by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard reversed the course of the conflict.
The Democratic Party of Iranian Kurdistan, also known as the Kurdish Democratic Party of Iran (KDPI), is an armed leftist ethnic party of Kurds in Iran, exiled in northern Iraq. It is banned in Iran and thus not able to operate openly.
Following the eruption of the Iran–Iraq War in September 1980, an even greater effort was made by the Iranian government to crush the Kurdish rebellion, which was the only one of the 1979 uprisings to still go on (Arab, Baluchi, and Turkmen rebellions had already been subdued by that time). By late 1980, the Iranian regular forces and the Revolutionary Guard ousted the Kurdish militants from their strongholds, but groups of Kurdish militants kept executing sporadic attacks against Iranian militias. The clashes in the area went on as late as 1983.
About 10,000 people were killed in the course of the Kurdish rebellion, with 1,200 of them being Kurdish political prisoners, executed in the last phases of the rebellion, mostly by the Iranian government.The Kurdish-Iranian dispute resurged only in 1989, following the assassination of a KDP-I leader.
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With traumatic experience during the Pahlavi rule in Iran and two major failed rebellions in 1946 and 1967, Kurdish political organizations were enthusiastic supporters of the revolution against the Shah, which brought Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini to power in February 1979. The Shah had shown himself to be no friend of Kurdish aspirations for greater autonomy nor a loosening of Tehran's control over their affairs. Once again, from the early days of the Islamic revolution, relations between the central government and Kurdish organizations were fraught with difficulties and armed insurrection would ensue.
Shah is a title given to the emperors, kings, princes and lords of Iran. It was also adopted by the kings of Shirvan namely the Shirvanshahs. It was also used by Persianate societies such as the rulers and offspring of the Ottoman Empire, Mughal emperors of the Indian Subcontinent, the Bengal Sultanate, as well as in Afghanistan. In Iran the title was continuously used; rather than King in the European sense, each Persian ruler regarded himself as the Shahanshah or Padishah of the Persian Empire.
Ayatollah or ayatullah is a high-ranking Usuli Twelver Shī‘ah cleric. Those who carry the title are experts in Islamic studies such as jurisprudence, Quran reading, and philosophy and usually teach in Islamic seminaries. The next lower clerical rank is Hujjat al-Islam.
Sayyid Ruhollah Mūsavi Khomeini, also known in the Western world as Ayatollah Khomeini, was an Iranian politician and cleric. He was the founder of the Islamic Republic of Iran and the leader of the 1979 Iranian Revolution, which saw the overthrow of the last Shah of Iran, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, and the end of the 2,500 year old Persian monarchy. Following the revolution, Khomeini became the country's Supreme Leader, a position created in the constitution of the Islamic Republic as the highest-ranking political and religious authority of the nation, which he held until his death. He was succeeded by Ali Khamenei on 4 June 1989.
The Kurds, with their cross-border alliances, were seen as vulnerable to exploitation by foreign powers who wished to destabilize the young republic. Sunni Kurds, unlike the overwhelming majority of their countrymen, abstained from voting to endorse the creation of an Islamic republic in April 1979. That referendum institutionalized Shia primacy and made no provision for regional autonomy.
The crisis deepened after Kurds were denied seats in the assembly of experts gathering in 1979, which were responsible for writing the new constitution. Ayatollah Khomeini prevented Dr. Ghassemlou, the elected representative of the region, to participate in the assembly of experts’ first meeting. [ citation needed ], since the majority of them belonged to the Sunni branch of Islam.[ citation needed ]Kurds were therefore deprived of their political rights under the new Iranian constitution
A constitution is an aggregate of fundamental principles or established precedents that constitute the legal basis of a polity, organisation or other type of entity, and commonly determine how that entity is to be governed.
As the wave of nationalism engulfed eastern Kurdistan after the fall of the Pahlavi Dynasty in line with a series of anti-revolutionary revolts across the country (in Khuzestan, Iranian Balochistan and other parts of Iran), a full-scale rebellion was imminent. Also, in March 1979, the KDP-I formulated and publicly announced an eight-point plan for Kurdish independence.
The uprising was born in mid-March 1979, when protesting Kurds took over control of police headquarters, army bases, and parts of army barracks in Sanandaj, after failure to disperse them by army troops.According to BBC, the revolt began, when Kurdish tribesmen overpowered Iranian militias in the town of Paveh. Allegedly, unrest then spread to other Kurdish-dominated regions as the Kurds took over towns and army garrisons trying to keep out the Iranian army, namely to the towns of Divan Darreh, Saqqez and Mahabad. Many Kurdish leaders went into hiding, after Khomeini ordered their arrest and murders. Iranian newspaper reports at this stage did put the number killed at about 600.
Since April 1979 armed conflict broke out between Kurdish factions and the Iranian revolutionary government's security forces. The Kurdish forces included primarily the Democratic Party of Iranian Kurdistan (KDPI) and the leftist Komala (Revolutionary Organization of Kurdish Toilers).By late April, sectarian fighting also broke out between Kurdish and Azeri factions in the area, resulting in hundreds of Kurds killed. One of the "Azeri" tribes massacring the Kurds was the Karapapak tribe.
In mid-August, without sufficient preparations and regardless of army's advice, the Revolutionary Guard marched on the Kurd-held town of Paveh, falling into a major ambush. [ citation needed ] The government then began a three-week campaign to clear out Kurdish strongholds, mainly Saqqez and Mahabad.The defeat prompted Khomeini to approach the heads of the army and the government. The new Iranian Islamic leadership had little patience for Kurdish requests and opted for crushing unrest through military means. As a result, Khomeini, the new religious leader of Iran, declared a jihad (holy struggle) and a fatwa (religious edict) against the Iranian Kurds and key Kurdish nationalist figures were declared "enemies of the state", like Ghassemlou, in his statement on August 17, 1979.
On August 20, 1979, the Iranian army started the Siege of Mahabad. By August 30 it was reported they had managed to completely surround the city and three days of negotiations started. After this failed, Iranian forces invaded the city on September 3backed by F-4 fighter jets and over 100 tanks. Backed also by artillery power, they managed to seize control of the town after just several hours of fighting. The defeat in Mahabad was a major blow to the Iranian Kurds, and afterwards Iranian forces continued to march on the smaller town of Baneh. Over 500 people were killed during the siege.
The defenders were overwhelmed by the power of the Iranian offensive, using heavy artillery, tanks and air cover, but managed effective resistance. Despite the heavy casualties, the bulk of Kurdish Peshmerga evaded capture and death, so they retreated into the mountains.The Kurds resumed their offensive six weeks later, returning to Mahabad and effectively fighting the armor forces of Iran with Molotov cocktails and RPGs. In the end of November, Kurds also attacked Sanandaj, Saqqez and other Kurdish cities and towns. Kurdish effective initiative continued, as Iranian government was distracted by other events in the country, such as the American Embassy hostage crisis in Tehran.
In a speech on 17 December 1979, Khomeini called the concept of ethnic minority contrary to Islamic doctrines. He also accused those who do not wish Muslim countries to be united in creating the issue of nationalism among minorities. His views were shared by many in the clerical leadership.
The new Iranian administration of President Banisadr took office. In late January 1980, Revolutionary Guard units and government supporting Kurds unsuccessfully battled rebels in the region, resulting in a stalemate that lasted until spring. By May 1980, Kurds still controlled much of the regions' roads, rural areas and holding once again the city of Mahabad as their capital. The KDPI said that they control over 7,000 fighters at the time.
In the spring of 1980, government forces under the command of President Abolhassan Banisadr brutally conquered most of the Kurdish cities through a huge military campaign, sending in mechanized military divisions to Kurdish cities including Sanandaj,[ citation needed ] Pawe, and Marivan. Neighbourhoods of some villages and towns were destroyed as a result of the fighting between Kurdish rebels and Government forces . Ayatollah Khalkhali, sentenced thousands of men to execution after summary trials.[ citation needed ] The Kurds however continued to hold Mahabad as the summer fighting diminished, while Iranian-Iraqi tensions grew.
In late August 1980, Iranian army failed to sack Mahabad, held by the Kurds for ten months.They continued to hold it for five more months, as the Province of Kordistan became the theater of the Iran–Iraq War. Although President Banisadr ordered a cease-fire with the Kurds, following the Iraqi invasion, the Pasdaran ignored him, continuing their campaigns.
The confrontation between Tehran and the Kurds intensified sharply when the Iran–Iraq War broke out, as Iran faced Iraqi support to the Kurdish insurgency in Iran, while waging its own campaign to encourage risings of various groups within Iraq.It was initially assumed that Iraqi Kurds and their Iranian brothers would cooperate to exploit weaknesses on both sides. Not surprisingly, neither Baghdad nor Tehran was willing to accept that outcome. Rather, both sides insisted on organizing special loyalist Kurdish military units to participate in the war and to demonstrate allegiance to their respective states. Essentially, the Iraqi KDP and the KDPI were split, experiencing a series of internal conflicts.
The Pasdaran units had not been effective against the Kurds, until Revolutionary Guard backed units engaged into fighting with Iraqis and Iraqi-backed Kurds in late December.
As the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps fought to reestablish government control in the Kurdish regions, more than 10,000 Kurds were killed during this process. [ unreliable source? ]
Groups of KDPI soldiers continued to engage in low level campaigns up until 1983,as the Iranian forces were diverted to the Iraqi front, with the escalation of the Iran–Iraq War.
While most of its military and political activity in Iran was greatly reduced after the 1979–1981 rebellion, the Kurdish Democratic Party of Iran had continued its opposition activities through 1980s. In 1989, the KDPI renewed its military activities, among which most notable was the 1990 fighting, in which some 300 Iranian soldiers were allegedly killed.
Since 1996, following an effective political and military crackdown, the conflict of KDPI against the Iranian government shifted to the political opposition abroad.
Renewed insurgency in Iranian Kurdistan was undertaken since 2004 by another Kurdish militant organization—the PJAK, affiliated with the PKK.
On 27 August 1979, in Sanandaj, Iran, 11 Kurdish prisoners were executed by a firing squad following a 30-minute trial under Shiite cleric Sadegh Khalkhali.Jahangir Razmi, a photographer for Iran’s independent Ettela’at newspaper, captured the execution on film.
Within hours an anonymous photo of the execution ran across 6 columns of the paper. On September 8, the newspaper was seized by the Foundation for the Disinherited, a state-owned holding company.On April 14, 1980, the photo won a Pulitzer Prize. In 2006, Razmi made public 27 images from the execution that he had kept hidden.
The Komala Party of Iranian Kurdistan, commonly shortened to Komalah, is an armed communist ethnic party of Kurds in Iran. the group is currently exiled in northern Iraq. Komalah has been engaged in guerrilla warfare against the Iranian government, notably during the 1979 Kurdish rebellion and the Iran–Iraq War. It was also involved in armed activity against the Democratic Party of Iranian Kurdistan (KDPI) from 1984 to 1991.
Sectarian violence in Iraq or the First Iraqi Civil War is a recurring issue throughout the history of the region, since the modern borders of Iraq were mostly demarcated in 1920 by the League of Nations. The country, as established, was immediately home to a variety of religious and cultural groups that have clashed as power has ebbed back and forth between them.
Abdul Rahman Ghassemlou was an Iranian politician of Kurdish descent. Ghassemlou was the leader of the Democratic Party of Iranian Kurdistan (KDPI) from 1973 until his assassination in 1989 by individuals suspected of being agents of the Islamic Republic of Iran.
Kurdish nationalism holds that the Kurdish people are deserving of a sovereign nation that would be partitioned out of areas in Turkey, northern Iraq, and Syria based on the promised nation of Kurdistan under the Treaty of Sèvres.
The Iran–PJAK conflict is an armed conflict between the Islamic Republic of Iran and the Kurdish guerrilla group, the Kurdistan Free Life Party (PJAK), which began in 2004 and largely ended in 2011. The group was carrying out attacks in the Kurdistan Province of Iran and other Kurdish-inhabited areas. PJAK is closely affiliated with the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), the primary opponent of the Republic of Turkey in the Kurdish–Turkish conflict.
Mohammad Boroujerdi was an Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps commander during the Iran–Iraq War. He played key roles in regaining control over the territories of Kurdistan by Iranian forces.
Ahmad Moftizadeh was an influential political and religious thinker among the Sunni Kurdish minority in Iranian Kurdistan. He is best known for his leading role in negotiating democratic freedoms for the Kurdish people in Iran during the country's Islamic Revolution. Moftizadeh led one of three major Kurdish factions during the Islamic Revolution that were demanding increased rights for Kurds in the new government. His negotiations ultimately failed and the new revolutionary authorities of the Islamic Republic of Iran ordered the arrest of Moftizadeh and several of his followers. Moftizadeh died shortly after his release from prison on 9 February 1993 due to severe torture and mistreatment by Iranian prison authorities.
The Kurdistan Democratic Party, usually abbreviated as KDP or PDK, is one of the main Kurdish parties in Iraqi Kurdistan and Kurdistan Region. It was founded in 1946 in Mahabad in Iranian Kurdistan. The party claims it exists to combine "democratic values and social justice to form a system whereby everyone in Kurdistan can live on an equal basis with great emphasis given to rights of individuals and freedom of expression."
Sedigh Kamangar known as Kak Sedigh was a lawyer and one of the leaders of Komala, a left-wing Kurdish political party. He was assassinated in Iraqi Kurdistan by an agent of the Iranian government.
The Kurdish rebellion of 1983 occurred during the Iran–Iraq War as PUK and KDP Kurdish militias of northern Iraq rebelled against Saddam Hussein, in an attempt to form their own autonomous country. With Iraqi occupation of the Iranian front, Kurdish Peshmerga combining the forces of KDP and PUK succeeded in retaining control of some enclaves with Iranian logistic and sometimes military support. The initial rebellion resulted in stalemate by 1985.
The Republic of Mahabad was a short-lived Kurdish self-governing state in present-day Iran, from 22 January to 15 December 1946. The Republic of Mahabad arose alongside the Azerbaijan People's Government, a similarly short-lived state.
The Second Iraqi–Kurdish War was the second chapter of the Barzani rebellion, initiated by the collapse of the Kurdish autonomy talks and the consequent Iraqi offensive against rebel KDP troops of Mustafa Barzani during 1974–1975. The war came in the aftermath of the First Iraqi–Kurdish War (1961–1970), as the 1970 peace plan for Kurdish autonomy had failed to be implemented by 1974. Unlike the previous guerrilla campaign in 1961–1970, waged by Barzani, the 1974 war was a Kurdish attempt at symmetric warfare against the Iraqi Army, which eventually led to the quick collapse of the Kurds, who were lacking advanced and heavy weaponry. The war ended with the exile of the Iraqi KDP party and between 7,000–20,000 deaths from both sides combined.
The Iraqi–Kurdish conflict consists of a series of wars and rebellions by the Kurds against the central authority of Iraq during the 20th century, which began shortly after the defeat of the Ottoman Empire in World War I and lasting until the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003. Some put the marking point of the conflict beginning to the attempt by Mahmud Barzanji to establish an independent Kingdom of Kurdistan, while others relate to the conflict as only the post-1961 insurrection by the Barzanis. The conflict lasted until the US invasion of Iraq in 2003, though tensions between the Kurdish autonomy and the central Iraqi government have continued.
The insurgency by the Kurdish Democratic Party of Iran surged in 1989, lasting until 1996, as part of the Kurdish separatism struggle. The eruption of the conflict in July 1989 was caused by the assassination of KDPI leader Abdul Rahman Qassemlou by suspected Iranian government agents. The most violent episodes took place in 1990 and 1991, when Kurdish soldiers launched massive attacks on Iranian military bases in Kurdish areas of Iran. This brought heavy retaliation from the Iranian government, aiming to eradicate the KDPI leadership by assassinating Sadegh Sharafkandi and other KDPI leaders in 1992 in order to disable the Kurdish party's ability to function. The conflict faded with the effective targeted assassination policy of Iran and by 1996 KDPI was no longer able to function militarily and announced a unilateral ceasefire. The conflict claimed hundreds of lives, mostly Iranian government troops and Kurdish militants.
The 1967 Kurdish revolt in Iran erupted in March 1967, as part of the long-running Kurdish separatist struggle. Abrahamian describes the revolt as a Marxist insurgency with the aim of establishing autonomy for Kurds in Iran, modeled as a federal republic. The revolt, consolidating several tribal uprisings which had begun in 1966, was inspired by the First Iraqi–Kurdish War in neighboring Iraq and enjoyed the support of the recovering Kurdish Democratic Party of Iran, previously crushed during the 1946 Iran crisis. The 1967 revolt, coordinated into a semi-organized campaign in the Mahabad-Urumiya region by the revived KDPI party, was entirely subdued by the central Iranian government.
The 1943–1945 Barzani revolt was a Kurdish nationalistic insurrection in the Kingdom of Iraq, during World War II. The revolt was led by Mustafa Barzani and was later joined by his older brother Ahmed Barzani, the leader of the previous Kurdish revolt in Iraq. The revolt, initiating in 1943, was eventually put down by the Iraqi assault in late 1945, combined with the defection of a number of Kurdish tribes. As a result, the Barzanis retreated with much of their forces into Iranian Kurdistan, joining the local Kurdish elements in establishing the Republic of Mahabad.
Sazmani Xebat (also known as Sazmani Khabat) is a Kurdish party from Iranian Kurdistan. Khabat was founded in the Kurdish city of Baneh, August 27, 1980. The party's fundamental purpose is to strive for national autonomy for the Kurds in Iran, but now seeks regional autonomy until a democratic government can be formed in Iran. The leader of the organization is Baba Shex Husseini who was born in Baneh in Iranian Kurdistan. Khabat is Iranian Kurdistan's third largest organization. Sazmani Khabat is currently based in Iraqi Kurdistan, in the cities Sulaymaniyah and Erbil (Hawler), and Ranya and Penjwen. The headquarters of the organization are in Rezgari known for Nawchay Xebat, a small area that lies between Arbil and Mosul.
Iranian Kurdistan or Eastern Kurdistan, is an unofficial name for the parts of northwestern Iran inhabited by Kurds which borders Iraq and Turkey. It includes the West Azerbaijan Province, Kurdistan Province and Kermanshah Province