Kurdish groups opposed to Iranian regime weigh options in Koya

In the Kurdistan Region of Iraq, the Kurdistan Democratic Party – Iran (KDP-I), and other parties from Iran opposed to the regime have a joint coordination center as tensions build between the administration of US President Donald Trump and its regional and international allies against the perceived malign Iranian regime in Tehran.

Mustafa Mawludi, KDP-I’s secretary-general, leads a small group at the sprawling campus in the heart of Koya (Koysanjaq), 70 kilometers east of the Kurdistan Region’s capital city of Erbil.

The center has faced four bombardments by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) since the 1990s. The most recent was on September 8, 2018. It left 17 senior comrades killed and 46 injured.

Maluwdi on Monday proudly showed the rebuilt meeting room where colleagues were martyred. The center has also dedicated a room in memory of the fallen with the center’s flag surrounded by walls depicting the blood of the fallen Peshmerga. Mawludi insisted Iran will not strike the center unless it is aware of high-level meetings, as was the case last year. 

KDP-Iran splintered from the Kurdistan Democratic Party of Iran (KDPI) in 2008, mainly over leadership disputes. Last week, Iran’s IRGC struck areas in northeastern parts of the Kurdistan Region of Iraq using missile, drone, and artillery attacks. 

In an upcoming interview, Mawludi hopes for better coordination between Rojhelati (Iranian Kurdistan) parties, especially with itself, KDPI and Komala. He details his opposition group’s different stance from the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK)-affiliated Kurdistan Free Life Party (PJAK).

Mawludi also acknowledges the sensitivity of armed groups operating within Iraq and the Kurdistan Region, as both Baghdad and Erbil have spoken out against such actions. In the interview, he discusses whether the re-imposition of US sanctions following its withdraw from the nuclear deal in 2018 have been effective for people living in Iran. 

Photos: Chris Johannes  and Zhelwan Z. Wali | Rudaw