Khomeini’s Anniversary Stirs Outcry in Canada

Kurdpa: Khomeini’s Anniversary in Toronto is greeted with opposition from Iranian and Canadian politicians, activists and communities.

The Muslim community in the GTA, Canada has decided to hold an event for the Islamic Republic of Iran’s founder, Ayatollah Mousavi Khomeini on Sunday May 31, 2015.

Politicians and organizations were quick to react to the holding of such an event. Canada’s Defence Minister, MP Jason Kenney, expressed his dismay on Facebook, “Disturbing to see anyone in Canada celebrating the murderous depravity of Ayatollah Khomeini’s brutal dictatorship”.

Richmond Hill MPP Reza Moridi, Ontario’s Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities, also expressed his apathy with the event and its organizers in an email statement obtained by Kurdpa.

“It is absolutely ridiculous, absurd and disgusting that the event organizer at this Islamic Centre, equates Khomeini with such world renowned human beings as Gandhi and Martin Luther King! This is an insult to the wisdom and intelligence of billions of people on this planet and in particular to hundreds of thousands of Iranian-Canadians,” the Minister stated in his statement.

He called on his supporters and the Iranian community to join him in the protest held on the same day and time of the planned event.

Similar outcry was also evident across the Iranian Canadian community across the social media, “What is next? Celebrating Hitler’s Birthday?!” read another Facebook post by human rights activist Fakhteh Luna Zamani.

In a petition addressed to all major Canadian political parties, Iranian-Canadians also expressed their opposition to the event.

“[As a] group of responsible members of Canada’s sizeable Iranian Canadian community ,we are writing to express our outrage and revulsion with Islamic Society of York Region’s decision to hold a celebration on May 31, 2015 in honour of Ayatollah Khomeini”, a part of the petition read.

Mousavi Khomeini was an Iranian cleric who founded of the Islamic Republic of Iran as the first Islamic government in the modern age after the 1979 Iranian Revolution, which saw the overthrow of the Pahlavi monarchy and Mohammad Reza Pahlavi.

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.

As the top regime leader he is believed to be responsible for the killing, execution, torture, disappearance, rape, and imprisonment of tens of thousands of Iranians.

He died on June 3, 1989.

Writing by Kurdpa Staff Writers and editing by Sharmin Hassaniani.

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Tensions and Unrest in Shino, One Dead and Two Injured

Kurdpa: As a result of a shooting by Iranian security forces around Shino (Oshnawieh), several Kurds were killed and injured.

Kurdpa has learned that on May 28 one Kurd was shot dead and another severely injured by armed forces.

Kurdistan Media reported that the assault killed Rebwar Molodi instantly. His body was transferred to Wurme city. Jasim Qorbani was injured, and he was later detained and transferred to Wurme city.

There were also reports of an armed confrontation between unknown gunmen and IRGC forces in the township of Nalos in Shino on Wednesday night, injuring two guards. Three people were also arrested, who are believed to be involved in the altercation.

Kurdpa has also learned that IRGC forces have refrained from handing back Rebwar Molodi’s body to his family.

There are high tensions in the Kurdish areas of Iran as PDKI, one of the largest Iranian Kurdish dissident political parties, decided to deploy Peshmarga units in and around the cities in Iranian Kurdistan along the border with Iraqi Kurdistan.

Writing by Kurdpa Staff Writers and editing by Sharmin Hassaniani

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Interview with Jerusalem Online: PKK Widely Interferes in the Affairs of other Parts

Iran Roundtable

It was reported yesterday that the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) attacked the Kurdistan Democratic Party of Iran (PDKI) Peshmerga on the border between Iraqi and Iranian Kurdistan, killing one PDKI Peshmerga member.   In an exclusive interview withRachel Avraham of the JerusalemOnline, Sharif Behruz, the former US Representative of the PDKI and the current Iran Roundtable President, stated that PKK’s motive is hegemony: “We know for a fact that the PKK despite being a Kurdish Party advocating for the rights of the Kurds in Turkey widely interferes in the affairs of other parts, regrettably often in line with the interests of the oppressive states.”

Excerpts of the interview can be found on JerusalmOnline website.  For better understanding of the current situation and broader analysis, Iran Roundtable publishes the full text of the interview:

Rachel Avraham:  Please tell me why the PKK would be interested in attacking PDKI forces along the Iranian border?

Sharif Behruz:  As far as the motives are concerned, PKK leadership would be in a better position to elaborate on their motives; however, we know for a fact that PKK, despite being a Kurdish party advocating for the rights of Kurds in Turkey, widely interferes in the affairs of other parts, regrettably often times in line with the interest of the oppressive states.  We have seen this in South, West and Eastern Kurdistan.  I can say that PKK’s hegemonic agenda is the main motive behind the recent altercation that led to one death and several injuries.

Rachel Avraham:  I heard that the PKK was cooperating with the Assad regime.   Do you know if they are also cooperating with Iran and this would prompt them to oppose any forces that support democracy in Iranian Kurdistan?

Sharif Behruz:  Given, the precarious circumstances that the division f Kurdistan in the 20th century has created, Kurdish struggle in each part would not have been possible without some sort of relationship with adjacent states.  As central governments have been able to unite against Kurds and use one against another, Kurds have also been taking advantage of rift among states to further their cause.  This state and non-state relationship becomes problematic when the particular party in question uses their relations with the state in question against the interest of the Kurds in that part controlled by that state.  Unfortunately, in Syria PKK’s relationship was against the national Kurdish movement in Syria, and it is the same in Iran as well.  The mere fact that PKK has been able to use the territories between Iran and Iraq as their bases for many years to conduct their fight against the Turkish state, it has been due to blessing and support from the Iranians.  Both sides have their reasons for such cooperation, but certainly it is not in the best interest of Kurds in Iran, mainly the political parties.

Rachel Avraham:  Please describe the present situation in Iranian Kurdistan and why KDPI felt that it was import to reinforce along the border for this reason.

Sharif Behruz:  As you are well aware, the situation in the Middle East is very volatile.  Strong and stable states have vanished.  Kurds in Syria were rarely known to the outside world, but now it is no longer a question to be denied.  Iran can be one of those oppressive states that can crumble from within.  Kurds in Iran have always played a major role in the transformation of Iran since the creation of modern state in 1920s.  They still continue to play the same role through their experienced political parties which are banned in Iran.  They political parties, PDKI including, play a significant role in shaping public opinion in Kurdistan and across Iran.  The recent unrest in Mahabad proved that Kurdish people in Iran are ready for such an uprising if supported and well organized. This is done by maintaining their link with their constituents.  PDKI, despite many regional obstacles has been able to move back and forth between their bases in Iraqi Kurdistan and Iranian Kurdistan.  Such movements would definitely be easier if bases are closer to the border as they once were in Qandil Mountains where PKK is right now.  However, PKK has forces along major routes and areas where such border crossing can take place, and unfortunately, PDKI has avoided such altercations by taking more dangerous routes.  It is important to know that PDKI and PKK as two political parties can and should coordinate their activities to avoid tensions however, PDKI or no other Iranian Kurdish political parties should take permission from PKK or anyone else of how to pursue their struggle for national right in Iran, especially in the areas that are part and parcel of Iranian Kurdistan.

Rachel Avraham:  How do you think internal infighting among the Kurdish groups could potentially influence the struggle against ISIS?

Sharif Behruz:  Kurdish internal infighting and bickering well explains the current situation that the Kurds are in.  Kurds would have their own state if all sides were united and spoke with one voice in the turn of the 20th century.  The same goes in explaining the current situation.  In Iran, Kurdish political parties are divided more than ever, the same divisions play an important role in Iranian Islamic forces advances deep inside Kurdish territories after the 1979 Revolution.  In Turkey, Kurdish political landscape is divided.  PKK, despite being very instrumental in Kurdish struggle against the racist Turkish state, the party’s hegemonic agenda has left little room for cooperation among Kurdish parties in Turkey; furthermore, due to such policies, it has alienated half of Kurds in Turkey who prefer to vote for AKP than PKK affiliated parties such as HDP.  In Syrian Kurdistan same policies led to the takeover of most of the Kurdish areas in Syria by ISIS.  If PKK affiliated PYD was inclusive, there were thousands from other parties who would be ready to fight against ISIS, but they chose the destruction in Kobani to cooperation with Syrian Kurdish political parties.  They still remain devisive.

I believe it is the other Syrian Kurdish political parties sense of national duty and the threats of ISIS terrorists, otherwise, we would have seen civil war among Syrian Kurds a long time ago.  In Iraqi Kurdistan, even though we have some sort of stability and self-government, it is not much different from the rest.  ISIS was able to over-run Peshmarga forces who are still function as political party forces as national professional forces.  Most of the Peshmargas on the payroll are two main political party members with little or no proper trainings.  Of course in such circumstances hostile forces such as ISIS and others can exploit such rifts and cause irreversible damage to our national unity and cause.

Rachel Avraham:  Please describe for our readers the differences in ideology between the PKK and PDKI, highlighting how you guys differ and how this affected the recent attack?

Sharif Behruz:  PDKI is an Iranian Kurdish political party that since the outset has been advocating and struggling for the right of Kurds in Iran.  PDKI does not recruit members from other parts of Kurdistan for the sake of interference in the affairs of other parts.  Of course PDKI still believes in the Kurdish people as a nation that deserve like all the other nations a state of their own; however, PDKI is a very articulate and realistic political party.  Currently, PDKI is seeking to establish a federal democratic structure in Iran with Kurds of Iran ruling over their own areas.

On the other hand PKK started as an ultra-nationalist Marxist political party advocating for an independent Kurdish state in the 80 and 90s.  Obviously, their main fight was against the Turkish state, and did little to fight against the other central governments.  As mentioned earlier, they even forged alliances at the expense of the Kurds of Iran and Syria.  PKK’s ideology has changed since Mr. Ocalan’s capture.  They rarely mentions or talk about Kurds, Kurdish right or Kurdistan.  They have abandoned their national cause and taken up the totalitarian Marxist agenda and often accuse PDKI and other nationalist Kurdish parties as the stooges of the capitalist system.  Following the crisis in the region, PKK was and still is in the realm of Shia crescent, as the top person of PKK, Camil Bayak himself an Alawai Shia claimed in the past.

It is unfortunate for the Kurds of Turkey to be on the wrong side of history, and PKK is mainly to be blamed for this.  Lastly, PKK, unlike PDKI interferes in the affairs of other parts.  As mentioned they created PYD in Syrian Kurdistan, simultaneously, they formed PJAK in Iran.  You know, Bashar Assad left the Kurdish areas in Syria to PYD in agreement, similar arrangement, much hideous however, was done in Iran more than a decade ago to have PKK guard its borders, through PJAK, even though they pretended that PJAK was actually fighting the Iranian government.  Iran was and still is of the leverage the traditional and pro-western Kurdish parties such as PDKI, and they were ready to do anything to undermine their popularity, which were successful to some extent.

Rachel Avraham: Please describe to me how Kurdish society has reacted to the recent attack by the Kurdish forces?

Sharif Behruz: Kurdish society in general is fed up with Kurdish political forces infighting. They are upset that even to this day, party interest lies well above national interest.  They have overwhelmingly condemned it.  However, it is noteworthy, Kurds all over Kurdistan well know both Kurdish political parties.  PDKI has good relations with all Kurdish political parties and believes in a plural and democratic society.  PDKI has often abandoned partisan interests for the sake of national interests.

PKK on the other hand, has engaged in infighting with almost all Kurdish political parties.  PKK has fought Iraq’s PUK and KDP in the past.  It has fought the Kurdish political parties in Turkey and Syria as well.  PKK has no or little relations with other Kurdish political parties and views itself as the master and owner of Kurdistan.   Kurds know in general that PDKI is a respected political party and will do anything to avoid and now end the infighting.  However, the onus was on the PKK to avoid such hostility.  PKK’s HDP is in the middle of an election campaign.  Such hostilities would definitely make people think twice before voting for PKK backed HDP.

Lastly, this is a first time two Kurdish forces from Turkey and Iran face each other militarily; PKK/PJAK will lose the little support they were enjoying in Iranian Kurdistan.  Above all, this recent episode proves how difficult it is and will become the task of nation building given the geo-political complexities of Kurdistan.

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PDKI and PKK Abrupt Clashes Kill and Injure Several

Kurdpa: Kurdistan Workers Party, PKK guerilla fighters, attack teams of PDKI Peshmargas in Eastern Kurdistan mountainous areas.

On Friday, PDKI leadership informed the media of the siege of a team of their Peshmargas in the hands of PKK fighters.

Mohammad Saleh Qadiri, Head of the PDKI’s Erbil office, told Rudaw that they have contacted the PKK leadership to resolve the matter peacefully, but PKK is not willing to hold any dialogue as far as this issue concerned.

“Our Peshmerga have not initiated any conflict [with the PKK], and we are working hard on solving this issue peacefully. We are against fellow Kurds killing each other. However, we will not allow anyone to dictate where and how we operate [against Iran]”,Qaderi said.

Following their failed attempts to reach a solution, PDKI politburo issued a public statement to bring attention to the plight of its trapped Peshmargas. “We [PDKI] attempted on numerous occasions to solve the issue with PKK through dialogue, however, the PKK has responded with threats and ultimatums,”said PDKI’s deputy party leader, Hassan Sharafi, about the stand-off.

Sharafi also emphasized that PDKI will not allow any organisation to dictate where the PDKI should have their operating bases, and that PDKI will not withdraw from their bases inside Eastern Kurdistan.

Despite many calls for each side to stand their ground, on the morning of May 24, PKK fighters initiated an armed attack on PDKI’s Peshmerga Forces, leading to the death of one PDKI Peshmerga and injury of three others.

Initially PKK denied any such encounter, but as the story of the clashes echoed throughout various media outlets, PKK was quick to respond that they had been attacked first: “They refused to listen to the warnings of the guerrillas to not to come closer, whereupon a team of guerrillas opened a warning fire on them in order not to be captured. In a clash that erupted afterwards and lasted 3-4 minutes, a Peshmerga fighter lost his life and one other was wounded”, read the PKK statement.

PDKI commanders on the ground told the media that their Peshmerga Forces have broken PKK’s siege of the Peshmerga operating base and apprehended several PKK fighters. After speaking to the PKK fighters, PDKI’s Peshmerga commander ordered the release of the PKK fighters in good faith and gave them back their weapons, instructing them to tell their leaders that “PDKI does not engage in war with fellow Kurds”.

PDKI’s Head of Foreign Relations, Loghamn Ahmedi, refuted such claims by PKK, speaking to his Party’s official website and stated “…a couple of days ago a large PKK force besieged one of our operating bases and did not allow our Peshmergas to move freely. Our party made every effort possible to reach a peaceful solution to the situation but the PKK either did not reply to our requests or issued new threats.
Our party avoided to publicly discuss the situation until we felt that an attack was imminent. Unfortunately, yesterday morning, PKK fighters attacked one of our Peshmerga platoons”.

Many Eastern Kurdistan political parties were quick to condemn PKK’s unwarranted attack on PDKI forces. Komala Party of Iranian Kurdistan issued a statement condemning PKK’s attack on PDKI Peshmargas and offered solidarity and support with PDKI, “We deem necessary to remind all sides that the right to engage in struggle in Eastern Kurdistan territory is the undeniable rights of Eastern Kurdistan parties”, the statement read.

“For years, we have warned PKK’s irresponsible interference in the affairs of other parts of Kurdistan, especially Eastern Kurdistan”, the Komala statement continued.

On Monday, Southern Kurdistan Regional (KRG) officials were quick to react to the clashes. Kurdistan Parliament issued a public statement “We seriously warn both Kurdish parties to avoid the use of violence and the gun in settling their political problems,” the statement read.

KRG also formed a delegation to talk to both sides. The delegation first visited PDKI headquarters where a press conference was held after the meeting, and the delegation headed to the PKK headquarters in Qandil.

Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) deputy leader, Kosrat Rasul discussed the matter in length over the phone with his counterpart in the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP), Nechirwan Barzani. KRG’s President, Masoud Barzani also issued a statement warning all sides to refrain from violence to settle scores inside Iraqi Kurdistan territory.

The brief gunfire between the two sides ended with one PDKI Peshmarga dead and several injured. PDKI, however, claimed that the siege of their teams ended and they even captured several PKK fighters, which they later released. However, they have made it clear that they will not withdraw their Peshmerga forces and they will defend themselves in the case of any hostile action.

A KRG delegation is also set to receive both PKK and PDKI delegation on Tuesday to resolve their differences.

PKK considers the borders areas as the defence territories for its forces, and will not allow any political parties to cross the borders under its control without its permission.

PDKI claims that they have had their bases in those areas way before PKK moved in, and do not recognize PKK’s claim to the territories, especially those in Eastern Kurdistan.

PDKI leaders also suspect that such obstruction of Peshmarga movement is done in coordination and on behalf of Iranian government to secure the border against any incursion from the Iranian Kurdish political parties.

Writing by Kurdpa Staff Writers and editing by Sharmin Hassaniani

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Three IRGC Guards Killed, Two Injured, Ten Arrested

Kurdpa: Latest border unrests in Wurme (Orumieh) Province have led to the deaths and arrests of a dozen IRGC members.

Kurdpa has learned that the corpses of three IRGC members were transferred to Shino city from Kelashin mountain range.

One source told Kurdpa that these IRGC members might have been killed in clashes with the Democratic Party of Iranian Kurdistan (PDKI) Peshmargas, which could not be confirmed by Kurdpa.

However, the source confirmed to Kurdpa that the bodies were transferred to the city’s main IRGC garrison.

IRGC members disguise under the PKK guerrilla uniforms, stated one of the PDKI commanders.

Reports from Margawar areas of Wurme indicate that at least ten local IRGC members have also been arrested by the Security Police within “Sepah Shohada” division of IRGC.

A Kurdpa reporter, from Wurme, has learned that the officer in charge of the ammunition depot in “Shahid Kharazi” IRGC’s Special Operations Squadron was arrested. He was accused of appropriating the ammunition with the help of the locals.

Locals have told Kurdpa that following the deployment of PDKI’s Peshmerga forces in the border areas of Wurme Province, all the local reserve paramilitary forces have been called to duty and deployed in the border areas.

Writing by Kurdpa Staff Writers and editing by Sharmin Hassaniani

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Unrest in Kurdistan, Nukes Deal with Iran, Parts of Our Discussion on WSRadio with Host Cynthia Dillion

This interview was conducted on Wednesday May 13, 2015.  Here are some of the discussion excerpts from WSRadio website:

The View from Abroad. Iran. Sharif Behruz
Sharif Behruz is co-founder of the Iran Roundtable, described in its website as a “non-partisan, non-profit coalition of Iranian-American of all ethnic groups and nationalities, dedicated to the advocacy of the rule of law, freedom and democracy for Iran and advancing the interests of the Iranian-American community in the US.” Mr. Behruz, a resident of Canada, explains in his own words, how his “father and family were evicted from Iran, in 1988, traveling in the back of a truck… to the Iraqi border…from there, they were able to apply for refugee status and moved to Canada…” Mr. Behruz comments on the riots and demonstrations that erupted last week in Mahabad, the Iranian Kurdish capital, (with 280,000 residents) over the sudden death/suicide of a young Kurdish girl. The incident is so disturbing because it provides an example of how “women in Iran, as a whole and particularly Kurdish women, have little legal protection against sexual harassment and violence, ” as Dr. Amir Sharif of the Kurdish Human Rights Advocacy Group once stated… Mr. Behruz speaks of his people’s desire to “dissent” under a “dictatorship,” and how they have to utilize any incident to let their voices be heard by the outside world. Mr. Behruz provides an update on the crime, and the outcome of what appears to be nothing less than the usual procedures by the authorities: a total “lack of an investigation under the regime’s standards…” Mr. Behruz also speaks of the 2009 demonstrations…”that could have toppled the regime…” but were ignored by this Administration…

source 

The View from Abroad. The Iran Nuclear Deal. Sharif Behruz
Mr. Behruz speaks about the Iran Nuclear Deal, commenting on his article, published in November 2014, titled “Deal or no Deal, Iran is the winner…” For him, “negotiations with the regime have been futile (since 2003)” and affirms that the Iranian leaders ” are betting on time…,” waiting to see “the changing alliances, the coalitions,” and the players,” the Europeans and the Americans…” Shrewd negotiators, and playing on the weaknesses of the West (they need Iran’s assistance against ISIS, in Iraq, Yemen, Afghanistan and Syria!), the Iranians are now demanding “the total lifting of economic sanctions…” Mr. Behruz also comments on Senator McCain’s recent criticisms of Secretary Kerry, noting profusely, “Senator McCain is right!”…”And by focusing too much on this Deal, the Administration has alienated its closest allies, Israel and the Arabs…, ” proof of this is tomorrow’s Summit in Camp David with Arab friends… however, Saudi Arabia’s Monarch and Bahrain’s King will be absent… Mr. Behruz concludes the interview by speaking of the Iran he envisions with a “Democratic future, pluralistic, where different nationalities have a say, in a federalist structure…” The will of the People: Freedom.

source: WSRadio 

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Al Arabiya: Clashes between Kurds and Iranian forces after suicide

Clashes erupted between Kurds and Iranian security forces on Thursday in Iran’s city of Mahabad where a woman is said to have committed suicide after a man tried to rape her, Al Arabiya reported.

Security forces were deployed to deal with the angry crowds who had gathered to protest against what one source said was Tehran’s discriminatory treatment of its Kurdish population.

According to posts on social media, hotel employee Frinaz Khasarwani committed suicide after a ministry of tourism official tried to sexually assault her, reportedly in collaboration with the hotel’s manager who was trying to get a five-star listing from the ministry.

However, what has been posted on social media is a “weak narration” of the incident, Kurdish news website Rudaw reported citing a resident in the area who called upon the crowds to give authorities enough time to carry out its investigation.

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Mirror: Protesters burn down hotel after ‘female worker jumps to her death to avoid being raped by army officer’

By John Shammas

This is the moment a group of enraged protesters set fire to a hotel after the mysterious death of one of its workers.

Protesters have claimed that the woman jumped to her death from the fourth floor of the building to avoid being raped by an Iranian army officer.

The riotous scenes in the Kurdish city of Mahabad, Iran have led to violent clashes between police and protestors today.

Officers are using tear gas to remove the hundreds who have taken to the streets after they set fire to Tara Hotel, located near the Iraqi border.

The woman has been named as 25-year-old Farinaz Khosrawani, with social media users using the hashtag #JusticeForFarinaz to share photos and videos of their protests.

Jaafar Katani, the mayor of Muhabat, told local news organisation Rudaw: “The people must wait until the investigation results are out to find out the reason behind Khosrawani’s death.”

Khosrawani’s family have said that they are awaiting the result of an investigation by authorities into the death.

The city has a population of 280,000 people, and protesters are continuing to take to the streets.

Source: Mirror

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New York Times: Riot Erupts in Iran’s Kurdish Capital Over Woman’s Death

Reporting from Tehran

TEHRAN — Furious over the unexplained death of a chambermaid, ethnic Kurds in an Iranian provincial capital rioted on Thursday, apparently setting the fire that roared through the hotel where she had worked. Police officers used tear gas to disperse the crowds, according to news accounts, witnesses, and images posted on social media.

The anger, which appeared to have been smoldering for days in the city, Mahabad, spread over the mysterious circumstances surrounding the fate of the chambermaid, Farinaz Khosravani, 25, who on Monday plunged from a fourth-floor window of the city’s only four-star hotel, the Tara, Kurdish news media reported. Mahabad is the capital of West Azerbaijan Province, and its population is mostly Kurdish.

The protesters suspected foul play in Ms. Khosravani’s death, according to the Rudaw news website, based in the neighboring Kurdish region of Iraq.

Images were posted on Twitter of flames roaring throughout the hotel’s five floors. The presence of hundreds of men outside the hotel, some with raised fists, seemed to indicate that the fire had been set by protesters.

“It took some days for the news to spread,” said one Mahabad resident in a telephone interview; he declined to give his name for fear of retribution.

He said that many in the city of 280,000, had read news on the Internet saying that Ms. Khosravani had been trying to escape an Iranian official who was threatening to rape her. According to those reports, the official had the help of the hotel’s owner, who had been promised a fifth star for helping arrange the official’s stay there.

“The city is boiling with anger,” the resident said. “People are protesting, and some have attacked the hotel where she worked.”

Iran’s state news media did not immediately report on the rioting. The Kurdish-populated area of the country, which has occasionally been convulsed by unrest, is a politically delicate subject.

Kurdpress, an Iranian-Kurdish website that is not obstructed in Iran, quoted the governor of the Kurdistan province, Jafar Katani, saying on Wednesday that “no official was involved.”

In an interview with the site, the governor said someone had tried to rape Ms. Khosravani, and said that a man taken into custody had been helping the hotel raise its standards.

In 2005, the city was the scene of unrest that lasted for several days, after an episode involving the security forces and local Kurds. But in recent years, Kurdish areas of Iran have had an increase in business, mainly smuggling. As a result, ethnic tensions have mostly receded.

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ARA News: Kurds in Mahabad protest against authorities

Erbil, Kurdistan Region – Hundreds of Kurds took to the streets on Thursday in the city of Mahabad, northwestern Iran, to protest against an Iranian officer who sexually harassed a Kurdish girl causing her to commit suicide, locals reported.

Local activists reported that the Kurdish girl, Farinaz Khosrwni, 23, who was working in Tarai hotel in Mahabad, has committed suicide after an Iranian intelligence officer tried to rape her.

“She threw herself from the hotel’s balcony on the fourth floor, for fear of being captured by the Iranian officer,” the sources said.

Activists on social networking sites have shared the news in the city and called for a campaign of mass protests across Mahabad. Thousands of Kurds protested in front of the hotel and burned it.

The security forces has reportedly fired live bullets at the protesters after blocking the roads linking the protest’s location with other parts of the city.

Speaking to ARA News, Kurdish activist Ibrahim Asaad said that the Iranian regime’s practices against the Kurds “reached unbearable level”.

“The Kurdish people in Iran have be subject to persecution and suppression by the authorities. This incident, although seems individual, reflects the degree of brutality of security officers in Mahabad,” he said.

“This protest has been motivated by sympathy with the victim and dozens other victims who were exposed to such acts by the Iranian authorities. The Kurdish residents of Mahabad won’t stop protesting until making sure that the perpetrators are prosecuted,” Asaad told ARA News.

Over the past few months, the Iranian authorities executed several Kurdish activists. Last February, the Kurdish political activist Saman Nesim was executed in the jail of the city of Urmia, in western Iran, on charges of participating in armed activities of the Party of Free Life of Kurdistan against the Iranian government.

 

Reporting by: Sarbaz Yousef and Jiwan Saman

Source: ARA News

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Rudaw: Hotel torched, tear gas in streets of Iran’s Mahabad

ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – Tensions are on edge in the ethnically Kurdish city of Mahabad, Iran, where protesters earlier torched a hotel over the unexplained death one of its female employees.

Police on Thursday used tear gas to remove hundreds of demonstrators from the area in front of the damaged Tara Hotel, leading to near riot conditions in the city some 200km from the border with Iraq’s Kurdistan region.

At least one protester has been reported injured in the incident that began after the death of Farinaz Khosrawani, 25, who was killed by a fall from the 4th floor of the hotel.

The death was denounced by local demonstrators who suspected foul play. Despite the arrest of a suspect, protesters set fire to part of the hotel.

“The people must wait until the investigation results are out to find out the reason behind Khosrawani’s death,” Jaafar Katani, Muhabat mayor, told Rudaw.

Khosrawani’s family agreed withe the investigation but tensions remain high in the city of 280,000 people.

“We are waiting the result of the investigation,” a family member told a Rudaw.

http://rudaw.net/english/middleeast/iran/07052015

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Video: Anti-riot Forces Fire at Protesters in the Kurdish City of Mahabad

A large demonstration in front of Hotel Tara to protest the murder of a young Kurdish girl who escaped rape in the hands of intelligence agent by jumping from the four story hotel. She died immediately and the hotel owner is alleged to be an accomplice in the murder. Apparently she was working at the hotel. The owner of the hotel had lured her into a room for this government agent whom the hotel owner wanted to bribe to get 5 star rating for his hotel. She jumped off the window of that same room to escape rape. People of Mahabad have been calling for full investigation into the murder. They organized a protest in front of the Hotel and set the hotel ablaze. Special riot forces were called to the scene of the demonstration and there are rumours that live shots were fired into the crowd resulting in the death of a protester and the injury of several others.

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Islamic Republic Is Betting on Time

Iran Roundtable

The Five Permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany (P5+1) and  Iran announced a framework parameters regarding the regime of Islamic Republic of Iran’s nuclear program on April 1st in the run-up to reach a final deal by June 30.

Despite the high optimism of a potential lasting agreement, considering the clerical regime’s track record of walking away when a deal is imminent, this framework, if agreed by all sides could lead to further tensions as the regime, as has always done, will not keep its side of the bargain.  They are already offering contradictory interpretation of the mutual agreed long march framework.

In the agreed framework it states, “Iran will receive sanctions relief, if it verifiably abides by its commitments.” However, Rouhani, the regime’s President, said during a ceremony marking Iran’s nuclear technology day that no agreement will be signed, “unless all economic sanctions are totally lifted on the first day of the implementation of the deal.”

The framework and the proponents of the deal, mainly the Obama Administration argues that “Iran has agreed to only enrich uranium using its first generation (IR-1 models) centrifuges,” while Iran’s Foreign Minister, Javad Zarif along with the regime’s nuclear chief – also top negotiators – both told a closed-door session of the parliament on Tuesday (following the eight day long talks in Geneva) that “The country would inject UF6 gas into the latest generation of its centrifuge machines as soon as a final nuclear deal goes into effect by Tehran and the six world powers.”

Most importantly, the regime’s ultimate decision maker, the Supreme Leader, is signalling again and again that he does not have faith in these negotiations, and believes that a deal cannot be reached by June.  He even declared that the military sites would be strictly off limit to foreign inspectors, quite contrary to the IAEA Additional Protocol which Iran has apparently agreed to implement under this framework which would allow inspectors to visit “declared and undeclared nuclear facilities.”

These contradictory statements and past futile negotiations prove that this clerical regime well knows the significance of change in the political landscape in Washington and elsewhere in Europe.  Dragging the negotiations beyond next year will certainly mean another couple of years before a new US President is inaugurated to take up the Iran case again while the regime enjoys relaxed sanctions and greater access to international markets in this period.  This has prompted the lawmakers, even those from President’s own party, to be very suspicious of the negotiations, the regime’s ultimate objectives.  Thus, they have embarked on taking a bold stance against any deal that would ease the sanction regime while still leaving the regime with enrichment capabilities, let alone its plans to develop inter-continental ballistic missiles, support for terrorism and regional instability.

It is evident that on one hand economic paralysis due to sanctions, world unity and heightened use of force brought Iran to the same table and negotiations that were underway almost a decade ago.  On the other hand, the regime views negotiations with world powers as a way of displaying its leverage and pride and a means of continued survival.  What has been agreed in the week long marathon negotiations could have been agreed a decade ago, but to this regime and its leaders, negotiations are not the means, rather the ends.  It is clear that the Mullahs in Iran only wanted to have the sanctions loosened and leave these nuclear installations and capabilities in place so they can retract from the agreement at will and pave their way towards the bomb when the moment is right.  It took years of diplomacy and dedication to impose the current sanctions on the regime; however, removing them will take years, if not decades, to put back in place, in its current force.  Thus, it is naive to argue that they will be ‘snapped back’ if the regime violates the agreement.

Bear in mind, that given the transformations in the region, this regime views nuclear weapons an existential necessity and will soon, rather than later, realize this long held objective of becoming a nuclear force in the region, second to Israel.

We have argued in the past that investing in nuclear technology is not in the best interest of the people of Iran for simple reasons: Iran has an abundance of energy resources that committing to such ambitious nuclear agenda for the sole purpose of power generation and research, as they falsely claim, is costly and unnecessary.  The second most important aspect of our objection is safety; Iran lies under a series of earthquake fault lines, and none of these nuclear facilities can withstand large Richter quakes or other natural disasters which could cause devastations larger than Chernobyl and the Japan nuclear spill.  Given Iranian regime’s hostile behaviour in the region, these nuclear installations can become target in the event of any attack on the regime by those forces suspicious and worried of Iran’s aggressions in Lebanon, Syria, Palestinian territories, Yemen, Bahrain and beyond.

Lastly, the tyrannical regime in Iran remains the world’s largest sponsor of terrorism and major violator of human rights.  The bulk of sanctions on the regime were due to gross human rights violation and those individuals and entities that played a major role in such violations, such the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, its affiliated business entities and individuals.  Regardless of the memorandum of understanding between the parties on the regime’s nuclear program – irrespective of its triumph or fall through – non-nuclear sanctions should remain intact and even increased given escalated level of executions and human right violations since the coming to power of the so-called reformist President Hassan Rouhani.

We welcome Iran’s peaceful coexistence with its neighbours and its rightful place in the community of nations.  Iran’s sovereignty and international rights must be respected at all times; however, such rights must only be exercised when it is in the best interest of Iran’s people, something that this clerical regime has proven to be alien to.

Finally, this regime cannot be at peace with the outside and at war with its own people.  We are rightly concerned that for as long as this regime is in power, the people of Iran will not attain their rightful place in the international community, and will not realize their lasting peace domestically, regionally and with the larger international community.

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Iran’s Rouhani: Lift sanctions immediately or no final nuke deal

USA Today

Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, joined that nation’s president Thursday in saying any nuclear agreement must include the immediate lifting of economic sanctions choking the country.

In his first public comments on the framework for a deal with world powers released last week, Khamenei told a gathering of religious poets he “is neither for nor against” the agreement. Because the agreement is just on a framework, not a deal itself, “nothing has been done yet,” he said.

“What has happened so far neither guarantees a deal … nor does it guarantee the content of a deal,” he said. “It doesn’t even guarantee the talks will go on until the end and will lead to a deal.”

He said the punitive “sanctions should be lifted completely on the very day of the deal.”

The United States, United Kingdom, France, Russia, China and Germany — the so-called P5 +1 group — reached an understanding with Iran last week on limits to its nuclear program in return for lifting crippling economic sanctions.

The United States has said the sanctions would be lifted in phases, but the details have not been negotiated.

Negotiators have until June 30 to fill in the critical details to assure Iran it will get relief from the sanctions as soon as possible and to guarantee world powers that Iran won’t develop a nuclear weapon.

“The process of sanctions suspension or relief will only begin after Iran has completed its major nuclear steps and the breakout time has been increased to at least a year,” State Department spokesman Jeff Rathke said Thursday in Washington.

“That’s consistent with what we said over the last week or so, and that was agreed upon by all the parties,” he said.

Khamenei said the group of world powers is “not to be trusted” and may try “to limit Iran” in further talks.

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In Pictures: At the Conference of Armenian Genocide

March 20, 2015: At the Conference on Genocide ‘Prevention to Justice’ organized by the Armenian Genocide Centennial and Armenian National Committee of Canada at University of Toronto.

Honored to be here, however, disgusted by the presence of so-called Yeizidi representative from ‘Yezidi Yezidi Human Rights Organization-International‘ as a guest speaker who falsely claimed Kurds are committing genocide against the Yeizidi Kurds.  Such fabricated claims come as Kurds from all backgrounds are sacrificing their lives to defend the Yeizidi community against the threat of ISIS.

As a Kurd, I apologize for any roles the choice-less Kurds might have played in the genocide committed by the Ottaman Turks against the Armenians, however allowing such person to utter such fabricated claims at this sombre occasion is quite unfortunate especially when Kurds themselves have been victims of genocide by their neighbours and oppressive states.

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