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 Erbil to Tehran: Containment or mutual relations 

 Source : Globe Chronicle
  Kurd Net does not take credit for and is not responsible for the content of news information on this page

 


Erbil to Tehran: Containment or mutual relations  23.10.2008




October 23, 2008

Iraq's Kurdistan region president Massoud Barzani traveled to Tehran, the capital city of Iran, upon an official invitation of President Mahmoud Ahmedinejad.

Kurdistan President Massoud Barzani traveled to Tehran, the capital city of Iran, upon an official invitation of President Mahmoud Ahmedinejad. Unlike Turkey,
www.ekurd.net Iran officially recognizes the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) and has a consulate in Erbil, the capital city of Kurdistan Region.

There are a number of crucial issues that are on the agenda between the two presidents, including the strategic agreement that is negotiated between Iraq and the U.S.; the activities of * PJAK (the Free Life Party in Kurdistan) in Iran and their military camps in Iraqi Kurdistan, and the status of the arrested Iranian officials in Erbil by the U.S. last year.

Iran is aware of the strategic importance of any strategic agreement between Iraq and the U.S. with its possible implications on Iran. Despite the fact that the agreement has yet to be finalized and signed between the two sides,
www.ekurd.net Iran fears that its influence in Iraq would be diminished and the soil of Iraq may be used as a launch pad by the U.S. in a possible military confrontation with Iran.             

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, (L), welcomes President of the semiautonomous Kurdistan region in northern Iraq, Massoud Barzani, for their meeting in Tehran, Iran, Thursday, Oct. 23, 2008
Kurdistan Region has a lengthy border with Iranian Kurdistan and the position of the KRG in the eventuality of a U.S.-Iran military conflict would be decisive not only due to Kurdistan's border with Iranian Kurdistan but also due to the fact that the KRG and political Kurdish parties have considerable leverage over the Kurds in Iran. Iran has long relations with Iraqi Kurds, but perhaps the bitterest memory of Iraqi Kurds with Iran is the infamous Algeria agreement between Iran and Iraq in 1975, which brought disaster to the Kurdish national movement in Iraqi Kurdistan led by legendary Kurdish national leader Mustafa Barzani, the father of Massoud Barzani.

Iran, unlike other neighboring countries of the KRG, has a kind of mild but cunning policy toward Iraqi Kurdistan and its own Kurdish community. Iran has never denied the existence of the Kurdish identity and a small region within Iranian Kurdistan officially called Kurdistan, whereas use of "Kurdistan" still is taboo in Turkey. Iran, however, has not been too happy to see full-fledged Kurdish nationalism either in Iraqi, Turkish, or Iranian Kurdistan. The difference between Iran and Turkey with respect to their approach to the Kurdish national movement is that Iran mostly resorts to containment policy whereas Turkey aims to destroy it from its root.

Iran's interests in Iraqi Kurdistan at this particular period is mainly oriented to its own national security as it perceives the KRG as a strong partner of the U.S. in Iraq and thus it is exerting pressure on Kurds at least to make them remain indifferent in the eventuality of any military conflict with the U.S. However, prior to the meeting with Ahmedinejad Thursday,
www.ekurd.net Barzani in a press conference on Wednesday with Iranian Foreign Ministry, Manuchehr Mutaki, in Tehran stated that the strategic agreement between Iraq and US is the best agreement that Iraq is going to sign. With this statement Barzani sent his message to top Iranian officials his stance on the issue of US-Iraq strategic agreement.

Iran has also been anxious about the activities of PJAK and the rumors that the U.S. provides logistical and military support to it despite the fact that there is no concrete evidence to support the claim.

Recent tension between the KRG and the Iraqi central government led by al-Maliki on the issue of troop deployment in Khanaqin and other disputed areas is attributed by some commentators to Iran to corner and pressure the KRG through Iran's Shiite supporters in Iraq. It is not a big secret that Iran has great influence on Shiites in Iraq.

Copyright, respective author or news agency, Globe Chronicle

* Since 2004 the Party of Free Life of Kurdistan (PJAK) took up arms for self-rule in the country's mainly Kurdistan province northwestern of Iran (Iranian Kurdistan, Eastern Kurdistan). Half the members of PJAK are women.

In a report released in July 2008, the human rights organisation, Amnesty International expressed concern about the increased repression of Kurdish Iranians, particularly human rights defenders.

The report cited examples of religious and cultural discrimination against the estimated 12 million Kurds who live in Iran.

“We urge the Iranian authorities to take concrete measures to end any discrimination and associated human rights violations that Kurds, indeed all minorities in Iran, face,” Amnesty said in its report.

“Kurds and all other members of minority communities in Iran, men, women and children, are entitled to enjoy their full range of human rights.”

Iranian Kurdistan

** Iranian Kurdistan (Kurdish: Kurdistana Îranę or Kurdistana Rojhilat (Eastern Kurdistan) or Rojhilatę Kurdistan (East of Kurdistan)) is an unofficial name for the parts of Iran inhabited by Kurds and has borders with Iraq and Turkey. It includes the greater parts of West Azerbaijan province, Kurdistan Province, Kermanshah Province, and Ilam Province.

Kurds form the majority of the population of this region with an estimated population of 12 million. The region is the eastern part of the greater cultural-geographical area called Kurdistan.

More about Iranian Kurdistan 

PJAK

The present leader of the organisation is Haji Ahmadi. According to the Washington Times, half the members of PEJAK are women, many of them still in their teens, and one of the female members of the leadership council is Gulistan Dugan, a psychology graduate from the University of Tehran. This is due primarily to the fact that PEJAK is strongly supportive of women's rights. PEJAK believes that women must have a strong role in government and must be on an equal level with men in leadership positions.

More about PEJAK- Party for a Free Life in Kurdistan       

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