By FUAD HAQIQI for Rudaw
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – Iran’s exiled Kurdish parties say they are ready to negotiate a return to the country, but only if talks are held openly and directly with the Iranian government, and Kurdish rights are recognized and upheld.
“Whenever the Iranian government openly announces its willingness to negotiate with the Kurdish parties, we agree to negotiate under the supervision of the United Nations, the international community and the Kurdistan Region’s president,” said Shamal Pirani, an official of the Kurdistan Freedom Party of Iran (KFP).
Aram Mudarisi, representative of the Kurdish Tailors Party of Iran, said that any talks should be direct.
“Negotiations must be directly held with the Iranian leadership, instead of with a government branch such as the Iranian intelligence agency,” Mudarisi said, adding that talks must take place in a third country.
Azim Hosseini, Iran’s consul general in Erbil, told Rudaw last week that his country was ready to negotiate with the exiled Kurdish parties, but only in Iran.
“The Iranian government intends to negotiate with the Iranian Kurdish rebels if negotiations are held in Iran and the Kurdish parties participate in the political process in Iran,” Hosseini said.
Karim Parwezi, an official from the Kurdistan Democratic Party of Iran (KDPI), said that Hosseini’s overture was “deceptive,” and noted that the Kurds have a bitter experience of negotiations with Tehran.
In July 1989, KDPI leader Abdul Rahman Ghassemlou was killed in a hotel room in Vienna during secret talks with Iranian government agents.
Despite doubts among Kurdish groups about Iran’s honest willingness for a dialogue, Pirani said that the current political and economic crisis in Iran may be forcing the government to wish for a resolution of the Kurdish issue.
Since coming to power in 1979, the Islamic Republic of Iran has officially negotiated with the Kurdish parties three times.
Tehran has had an uneasy relationship with its Kurdish population ever since the short-lived declaration of a Kurdish Republic in January 1946, which was crushed only months later by the military.