Iran: 38 Years of Success Against Democracy, Human Rights and Peace in the Middle East

By Rebwar Rashed:

The Kurdistan National Congress/KNK was participating in a conference on ‘The U.S- Kurdish Cooperation in The Course of Reshaping The Middle East’. organized by the KPRC/Kurdish Policy Research Center:

Kurdish Policy Research Center Talk 05/25/2017 Washington DC

Panel 1:
Iran´s Internal Repression Overshadowed by Its Interventionist Foreign Policy

Rebwar Rashed Co-Chair, Kurdistan National Congress
Michael Rubin Resident Scholar, American Enterprise Institute
Ardishir Rashidi Founder and President, Kurdish-American Education Society
Moderator: Samira Ghaderi Juris Doctor, International Affairs Expert

Iran: 38 years of success against democracy, human rights and peace in the Middle East

“Ladies and Gentlemen,
Distinguished guests and friends,

It’s not my purpose to talk about the situation in the whole of Iran during this short but important opportunity I have been given to speak with you. The purpose is rather to talk about Iranian Kurdistan, a region that Kurds call Rojhelat, the Eastern part of Kurdistan.

The Iranian revolution in 1979 gave birth to a revolutionary theocratic regime, a Shia Islamic regime based on totalitarian principles. In no time, the world witnessed an Islamic Republic of Iran that was at once aggressive and expansionist.

Kurdistan in Iran is intentionally deprived of industry and industrial developments; there are no developed infrastructures, the agriculture sector is still on the level of subsistence farming and primitive agricultural techniques are still prevalent. The school system is substandard, and the health sector provides very limited services. These restrictions imposed on the economy have caused a high rate of unemployment and in turn poverty. The poverty, due to unemployment and deprivation, is very high. So the poverty in Kurdistan is artificially imposed.

Kurds cannot do much as the Kurdish people are constitutionally and structurally deprived of any power. Kurdish people are completely excluded from any kind of decision-making. The aim is to keep the Kurdistan region as backward and as underdeveloped as possible. Therefore the people of Kurdistan have a rebellious history. We have fought against the Sykes-Picot agreement signed in 1916, and other agreements which have divided our land into four pieces.

Due to Iran’s totalitarian government, there is no political freedom, no political parties or organizations, no NGOs, no freedom of speech or other freedoms. Everything, even how people wear their clothes, is imposed by the interpretation of the supreme leader Ali Khamenei.

According to the official and sole ideology, the Iranian Hezbollah is the true party of Allah. All other kinds of ideologies are the enemy of the Islamic state. Therefore, the war against Kurdish people is seen not only as a war to protect Iran from disintegration, but also seen as a war to support Allah’s will to establish an Islamic Republic of Iran and to protect it.

The Islamic Republic of Iran denies the democratic, national and human rights of the Kurdish people. It intervenes in its neighbors’ internal affairs, organizes and encourages sectarianism and anti-Semitism, and practices state terrorism and international terrorism. The Islamic Republic is also spending much of Iran’s money on building nuclear weapons and to threaten its neighbors.

Back in 1979, the Islamic Republic of Iran, under the leadership of Ayatollah Khomeini waged a war of extermination against Kurdistan. Mustafa Chamran, a member of Ayatollah Khomeini’s inner circle and his personal military aide, had the same duty then in the 80s as Qasim Sulaymani has today–that is: intervention, assassinations, terrorizing citizens, sectarian war, and so on.

The Kurdish cities of Sennandaj, Saqiz, Mehabad, Meriwan and other cities were under heavy bombardment, bombed beyond recognition. The Kurdish civilian causalities were not by the hundreds, but by the thousands. The arbitrary killing and hanging of innocent Kurdish people, annihilating hundreds of them by execution or group-extermination, the imprisonment of thousands of Kurdish women and men, political persecution, threatening people for thinking politically, and prohibiting music, traditional dances and cultural activities make up the daily lives of Kurdish people.

The state terrorism and international terrorism against Kurdish political leaders such as Fuad Mustafa Sultani, Abdulrehman Qasmlo, Sadeq Sherefkendi and hundreds more inside and outside Iran are well documented.

The Kurdish demands and its political struggle for peace and freedom have been answered by exaggerated state violence. Iran has nevertheless militarized its Kurdistan region.

From Ayatollah Khomeini to today’s Hassan Rouhani, the situation is the same. It was Ayatollah Khomeini who personally gave the order to the Iranian military apparatus to not stop until they finish off the Kurdish issue. Under Hassan Rouhani, the current, or the re-imposed president (the current president who recently returned to power), there have been more atrocities committed than under any other president prior to him.

Crimes like forcing women into legal prostitution, child-marriage, short-timed marriage (Sighe/in addition to four permanent wives, a man is allowed to have a variety of temporary wives for a specific time he needs them), human trafficking, distribution of drugs, especially among the youth, and the abuse of women and children. The women have largely been excluded from almost everything and are oppressed systematically in multiple ways. The war has intensified not only against the Kurds, but also against Baluchis, Arabs, and the Baha’i.

Iran’s revolutionary courts with their arbitrary arrests and judgments characterize the Iranian judiciary system. In many cases, the state charges the victims’ family for the cost of the bullet as a so-called “execution cost.”
Financial despair, addiction, suicide rates, and the number of political prisoners are far higher in Rojhalat than in other parts of Iran.

“Death to America” and death to “Western Europe” and down with “Western civilization” are the Islamic revolution’s main slogans, but in reality the real death is being directed to the Kurdish people as it is simply defenseless.

The Islamic State death squads, the so called ‘Army of the Guardians of the Islamic Revolution’ (in Persian Sepāh-e Pāsdārān-e Enqelāb-e Eslāmi), which was found by Ayatollah Khomeini himself on 5th May 1979, have killed more than 50,000 people, mostly innocent civilians, in Kurdistan, Arab Ahwaz and Baluchistan alone! Kurdistan’s destruction and isolation, and the deportation of thousands of Kurds to other areas of Iran, which has driven the Kurdish people deliberately into poverty and perpetuated a fascistic suppression of political rights, has been the Iranian policy towards Kurds, Baluchis and Arabs.


  • The Islamic Republic of Iran is a source of instability and a threat to the stability of the Middle East.
  • The Islamic state of Iran, together with Turkey, destabilizes the Kurdistan Regional Government/KRG, which is protected by the US.
  • The Islamic Republic of Iran must not be seen as only a nuclear problem.
  • The Islamic state of Iran has been practicing state- and international terrorism for the last 38 years. The heads of Iran’s totalitarian theocracy must be held accountable.
  • The Islamic state of Iran is against secularism, gender equality and social justice. It is against diversity and pluralism as it is built on the total exclusion of the “Other.”
  • Iran, with Turkey, encourages sectarian war between Sunnis and Shias, which again destabilizes the region.
  • The so-called Presidential election or other kinds of so-called “elections” in Iran are not fulfilling the criteria of democracy at all. There are no political parties, there are no candidates who are free to contest elections to give the voters a real choice, and they are not conducted in a free and fair manner, and the candidates are not preferred by the people but rather by the Supreme leader, Ali Khamenei. Etc.
  • The Islamic state of Iran principally believes that violence, aggression and intimidation must be included in policy making.
  • The so-called “Reformist Wing” of Iranian Hezbollah has nothing to do with granting freedom and some rights to peoples of Iran.- Only a totally constitutional change and restructuring of the state power, decentralization of power and for example a democratic confederate state can change the current state of Iran.

Thank you for being here and thank you for your contribution!”

Rebwar Rashed is Co-Chairman of the Kurdistan National Congress – KNK


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