A Brief Historical Background
By: Mouloud Swara
The first independent Kurdish republic was in Iranian Kurdistan. The ‘State of Republic of Kurdistan’ was founded in Mahabad in January 1946 and, although it survived for less than a year, it greatly inspired Kurdish nationalists everywhere.
Today marks the 76th anniversary of the establishment of the Republic of Kurdistan in Mahabad, Iranian Kurdistan, which was soon destroyed by the Iranian government.
The republic was established by Qazi Mohammad.
The Republic of Kurdistan lived for only 11 months before the Iranian government and world powers, once again, stood against the Kurdish wish for self-determination.
It dissolved on 15 December 1946, but left a landmark effect on the regional politics, reminding the entire region of the Kurdish legitimate right to hold and govern their own land.
the Iranian army launched a vast offensive into the region, destroying the “Republic on December 17, 1946. The ” Republic ” having collapsed, a great number of KDP leaders were imprisoned, of whom 20 people including Ghazi Mohammad, head of the Party and president of the Republic, M. Hossein Seyfi-Ghazi, minister of Defence, and Abulghassem Sadri-Ghazi, a member of the Iranian Parliament from Mahabad, were hanged in the capital of the Republic, and the others in Saqez and Bukan.
Every year on this day, Kurds in Iran, Iraq, Turkey and Syria, as well as around the world, celebrate the first-ever republic of Kurdistan despite the short life it had.
While the Iranian regime succeeded in cowing Iran’s Kurds for a generation, they also created martyrs who would inspire the Kurdish struggle in Iraq and elsewhere. The tradition of nationalist, as opposed to tribal, struggle became entrenched in the Kurds’ collective consciousness.
In less than two years after the collapse of the Republic, KDP started its political and organizational activities anew, striking roots in most parts of Iranian Kurdistan, which was due mainly to the Kurdish people’s desire to join the struggle, aimed at fulfilling the Party’s aspirations and reviving the honour of the Republic of Kurdistan.
Following the collapse of Dr. Mossadegh’s government in 1953, when democratic rights and freedoms of the peoples throughout Iran were suppressed, KDP’s activities came almost to a standstill. A great number of Party activists were either imprisoned or went underground, though they resumed their activities after a very short time.
Two widespread police raids against the Party in 1959 and 1964 dealt heavy blows to its organization: some 300 Party activists were imprisoned, with an even greater number hiding away or fleeing Iran. Nevertheless, not having sunk into despair, the Party embarked on the task of reviving its organization. Its activities picked up such a speed that in 1967-68, a large number of its members and high-ranking cadres started an armed insurrection – lasting 18 months – against the Shah’s regime, but as this armed movement lacked a safe rear zone, the Shah’s regime managed somehow to crush it.
The Kurdish people in Iranian Kurdistan and KDP played an active part in the Iranian people’s uprising against the Shah’s dictatorship. A group of KDP leaders, who were living in exile either in neighbouring countries or in Europe, returned to Iran before the collapse of the monarchy, actively participating in the uprising of the Kurdish people and assuming the status of leadership in the movement.
After the Iranian revolution in 1979, KDP declared its public activities in a meeting held in Mahabad, which was attended by representatives from all parts of Iranian Kurdistan. Despite the Party’s sincere endeavours to settle its differences over the democratic rights and freedoms of the Kurdish people peacefully with the newly established regime in Tehran, the rulers in Tehran took no account of the responsible efforts made by KDP. Instead, following the ” fatwa ” issued by ayatollah Khomeini against the Kurdish people, the Iranian armed forces ruthlessly embarked on a widespread offensive against the Kurdish population, shelling and bombing villages and towns of Kurdistan.
On 13 July 1989, Dr. Abdul Rahman Ghassemlou, Secretary-general of KDP, and two of his collaborators, were assassinated in Vienna (Austria) as they were negotiating with envoys of the Iranian regime, at the latter’s invitation, for a peaceful solution to the Kurdish issue in Iran. Dr. Ghassemlou’s successor, Dr. Sadegh Sharafkandi met with the same fate on 17 September 1992 in Berlin where he had attended the Congress of the Socialist International.