Iranian Kurdish leader: the Iranian’s regime’s main means of holding on to power is repression

Iranian Kurdish leader: the Iranian’s regime’s main means of holding on to power is repression
05 Feb

In a recent interview with the Kurdish daily Hawlati, Mustafa Hijri, General Secretary of Democratic Party of Iranian Kurdistan (PDKI), addressed issues pertaining to the current situation in Iran, the prospects of the popular uprising in Syria, the political impasse in Iraq, and other related matters. Below, provides its English-speaking readers with a brief summary of the major themes of the interview.

Regarding the current situation in Iran, Hijri described it in terms of a multifaceted crisis which will eventually erode the ruling sectarian theocracy’s grip on power. “Hence the Iranian’s regime’s main means of holding on to power is repression,” Hijri emphasized in the interview with Hawlati.

The impact of international sanctions, Hijri said, is only one contributing factor to this state of affairs. Long before the impact of recent rounds of international sanctions, ideological, political, economic and social crises in the country had undermined the limited popular base that the regime enjoyed in some segments of society following the revolutionary period. An important indication of this, Hijri reminded, was the disillusionment with and subsequent abandonment of the ideological foundations and objectives of the sectarian theocracy by some of its former ideologues and prominent clerics.

Although the joint impact of the regime’s failed economic policies and international sanctions on the Iranian economy and the lives of ordinary people are evident, the sanctions do have an impact on the regime as well, he argued. The opaque nature of the regime and lack of transparency in the political system make it possible for the regime to conceal this, however. The broadening and deepening of international sanctions – which target the oil sector and banking system – have accelerated the processes of popular disenchantment and the sectarian theocracy’s legitimacy crisis.

“For these reasons, [the regime] cannot continue to rule for a long period of time, although this doesn’t mean that that its downfall is imminent. In my opinion, efforts to form a unified and strong opposition should be accelerated in order to provide a viable alternative to [the ruling sectarian theocracy], one which people in Iran could rely on for the purpose of rising up against the regime,” Hijri emphasized. To this end, PDKI has taken important steps to pave the way for greater unity among Kurdish political forces. PDKI has signed a strategic agreement with Komala in order to coordinate the struggle against the regime in Tehran and its oppressive policies in Iranian Kurdistan. PDKI has also engaged a group that broke away from the party in 2006 in pursuit of reuniting with them.

Regarding the popular uprising in Syria, Hijri said that once the regime in Damascus is overthrown, it will have great geopolitical implications, affecting Iran and Iraq in particular and shifting the balance of power in the Middle East.

As to the political impasse in Iraq, the General Secretary of PDKI expressed his dismay at the lack of commitment by political forces in the country to resolving pressing disputes within the existing institutional framework and in a democratic manner. He described the problems in Iraq as very serious and having, as it were, sectarian dimensions which, in his view, make the prospects of resolving them look grim.

Hijri emphasized the importance of transcending the sectarian divides in Iraq and said that the Kurdish forces could play a constructive role in that regard by avoiding entanglements in sectarian conflicts between Shiites and Sunnis and by advancing the democratic experiment in Iraqi Kurdistan.


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