April 28 2004
Komala and Kurdistan
If Eastern Europe is any indication of how national question develops
in this day and age, we saw the same nationalities that went for
complete independence in one country, did not choose separation in
another, the main factor being the attention to democracy in the
country in question, among different nationalities who live together.
People under free conditions, live together out of choice and not by
force, and intimidations and calling them separatist, will not stop
nationalities from going their own way, and it may even impel them to
If a democracy develops in Iraq, Kurds will be the main force in the
central government of the whole Iraq, and will not give up such a
position to become a small national state in the North. Of course if
the Shiite Islamists in the South, succeed in creating an Islamic
Republic, then they can push Iraq into partitioning.
Nonetheless, I doubt it if the Shiite Islamists can push Iraq away
from a secular state too far. They are using all their force with the
help of Islamic Republic of Iran (IRI), to establish a strong
foothold in post-US Iraq, after June 30, 2004 deadline, but they are
dreaming, if they think post-June Iraq can ever become a Khomeini
state. They can try all their best intimidations, to force the world
public opinion, that Shiite Islamists are the embodiment of Iraqi
Shi’a aspirations, but it is hard to be convincing.
The Iraqi Shiites know well about the experience of Islamism in the
region, and particularly the Shi’a version of it in the Islamic
Republic in Iran, the same way the neighbors of Soviet Union knew
well what Communism is, and so the Shiite Islamist leaders cannot
deceive people, to gain more base in the future Iraqi state, and
Kurds have the best chance to fill the vacuum. Also the U.S. is
hiring back Saddam’s Sunni generals, and is in a way reviving
Saddam’s regime, without Saddam, to neutralize the Shiite Islamists.
Therefore for IRI to play a role in Iraq, similar to Syria’s role in
Lebanon, is not without serious challenges.
As far as Turkey, the Kurds in Turkey are the most possible
candidates for a separate state, and all the aspiration for such a
solution of Great Kurdistan, has always been coming, more from the
Kurds of Turkey, since racism from *people* of a land against the
Kurds, is a real thing only in Turkey. Moreover, in both Iraq and
Iran, the issue of Kurds has been basically with the *government*,
and not with the people. True that prejudices among the people exist
too but very minimal.
For example, Iranians make as much jokes about Rashti or EsfahAnis as
they make of Kurds, and in fact less for Kurds and more for Rashtis.
And none of it is comparable to real fascist attitudes towards Kurds,
which one sees in Turkey, attitudes similar to the way racial attacks
ended in Armenian Genocide of 1914 in Turkey of the time of Ottomans.
So I hope the Kurds from Turkey not to generalize their own
experience, to those of the Kurds of Iran, to agitate anti-Persian
Some Kurds call non-Kurd Iranians mollah supporter. The non-Kurd
Iranians have been fighting IRI for decades now, and this is not
right for people who have the strong issue of racism in Turkey, to
presume their case to be the same as the Iranian situation, and to
create flames between non-Kurd and Kurdish parts of the Iranian
pro-democracy movement. Non-Kurd Iranians, contrary to Turkey, have
challenged the IRI mollah regime, side-by-side with the Kurdish
opposition to IRI, all these years.
Kurdistan of Iran vs Iraq and Turkey
Iranian Kurdistan has developed as part of Iran in contrast to
different parts of Kurdistan of former Ottoman Empire.
Even more important is the fact that Iran’s Kurdistan has not
developed with Kurdistan of Ottoman Empire, even before the Safavids
and Chaldran (Chaldoran) treat of 920AH (1541).
Actually at the time of Moghols, Iran’s Kurdistan was under the rule
of Ardalans, and later on, during the Safavids, Ardalan rule
continued with Sanandaj as its capital, and Kurdistan had
semi-autonomy within Iran, and its situation has been completely
different from Ottoman Kurdistan.
After World War I, the Ottoman Kurdistan, was divided and those parts
may have some aspirations to unite again, for example the Kurdistan
of Iraq and Turkey, but as noted, even Iraqi Kurds see a lot of
opportunity for themselves in a united Iraq, if a secular democracy
prevails, and may not pursue united Kurdistan with Turkey. People
like Jalal Talabani of PUK, have played an important role in the
struggle for secular democratic republic and federalism for the whole
Furthermore, Iran’s Kurdistan had nothing to do with the partitioning
of Kurdistan of Ottoman empire after WW I. Also Kurds are Iranian
like the Tajiks, and the Kurdish language is an Iranian language. So
the situation of Kurdish issues in Iran is very different and is
basically oppression by the state than by the people. I wish some
Kurdish nationalists of Turkey would not generalize their situation
to that of Iranian Kurds.
Iranian Kurds and IRI
Iranian Kurds are essentially dealing with the same situation as
other Iranians. In fact, some Iranian Kurdish groups have been in
the forefront and leadership of the opposition to IRI, long before
many other Iranian parts of current Iranian opposition, and I am
sure, just as we see in Iraq, the Kurds will have a lot of say in the
post-IRI state, since all these years, they have been one of the most
important parts of anti-IRI opposition for a secular republic.
About differences of Iran and Ottoman Empire, and the role of Kurds
with regards to the history of development of central government in
Iran, I have written in details in my book on Kurdistan, where my
focus had been Iran’s Kurdistan.
The reality is that globalization has made separation of small
nations to be easy, and small nations nowadays stay together if they
want to, not because they have to, as I explained in Globalization
Basically as I have written in my article Why Federalism for
Kurdistan and Rest of Iran, federalism is the best solution to avoid
risking the breakup of future post-IRI democracy in Iran. A breakup
as witnessed in former Yugoslavia.
Insulting various nationalities like Kurds, is the worst anyone in
the Iranian opposition can do, which can infuriate these
nationalities and make them lose hope in a united Iran to look for
separation. Actually I have seldom seen among the Iranian
opposition, and the Iranian pro-democracy movement has a high opinion
of the Kurdish opposition, and many non-Kurdish Iranians lost their
lives in defense of the movement of Iranian Kurdish people against
the Islamic Republic.
The attacks on Kurds have not come from Iranian people but were come
from IRI, when Islamic Republic Revolutionary Guards (pAsdArs and
basijis), who insulted and raped Kurdish mothers and daughters.
Popular Movements In Kurdistan
Among Iranian Kurdish groups, I have seen a few individuals in some
groups, who may call the Fars or Persians by racist remarks, equating
all non-Kurd Iranians with mollahs, but these people are a very tiny
minority among the Kurdish groups.
The Kurdish groups like Komala are actually a very important part of
the Iranian opposition as a whole, and they do *not* address other
parts of Iranian movement by racist remarks. Komala cares for the
success of democracy and human rights in the whole of Iran, and they
see themselves as part of the pro-democracy movement of Iran, and
have contributed a lot to its development and leadership in the last
The separatist tendencies in Iranian Kudistan, comprise a very small
part of the political spectrum, and most people in Iran’s Kurdistan
see their future closely tied with the rest of Iran. As noted, I
have explained this with a thorough historical research in my book
about the formation of central state in Iran, when focusing on the
situation of Kurdistan in Iranian history.
After the fall of Shah’s regime, Kurdistan was among the first areas
of Iran that rose against the Islamic Republic. The reason is not
hard to see. During the reign of Safavids when Iranian government
was an Islamic State, albeit a monarchy but with a strong role of
mollahs, we saw the main opposition first to form in Sunni areas of
Iran like ghochAn and Bojnurd and Kurdistan.
Even Afghans who invaded Iran and attack Isfahan, started their
commotion when a Shi’a fatwa of Iran’s mollahs, who had pronounced
anybody raping Sunni women in Afghanistan would go to heaven. And
the fatwa had outraged the Afghans to a point that they invaded Iran
during Shah Soltan Hossein’s reign and ended the Safavid Dynasty.
So the Kurds of Iran being a strong Sunni minority were the first to
oppose a Shi’a Islamist state in Iran. Actually Sheikh Ezzeddin
Hosseini who has been labeled as a leftist and the like, represents a
Shafei Sunni religious opposition to IRI. Ezzedin Hosseini and
Moftizadeh were active in Kurdistan even during the Shah, and
contrary to what IRI tries to depict, they were not with Shah’s
Actually Ezzeddin Hosseini and Moftizadeh used to struggle against
Sufism that was promoted at the time of the Shah in Kurdistan. Even
Moftizadeh who in the beginning of IRI cooperated with IRI, was later
murdered by IRI, because he did not approve of IRI Shi’a rule. So
the issue of a Shi’a religious state was always a big fear for Sunni
The Kurds were attacked by IRI Revolutionary Guards (pasdArs) with
the same wordings of Shiite anti-Sunni verbal curses. The IRI
Revolutionary Guards had a religious hatred for Sunni Kurds, whom
they would call Omari, etc and they raped and killed the innocent
people of Kurdistan, when the first peaceful demonstration against
Shi’a rule started in Kurdistan in 1979.
The people of Kurdistan took arms only in *self-defense* and not
because of being guerrillas, which they were not. It is important to
note that the armed struggle in Kurdistan has*never* been a guerrilla
warfare like the cheriki movements in other parts of Iran, not even
at the time of the Shah.
The jonbeshe mollA AvAreh and Sharifzadeh in 1966, at the time of
the Shah, were an armed *mass* movement, and not a guerrilla
movement, and it was the peasants who rose up against the Shah’s
regime, and some intellectual groups and individuals from abroad
joined them later, and some of them like Parviz Nikkhah betrayed the
movement in Shah’s prison, but those groups were hardly any important
part of that mass movement.
The history of Komala actually starts at the time of the Shah from
the 1966 movement led by Mollah Avareh and Sharifzadeh. Foad Mostafa
Soltani who was killed during IRI, as well as current Komala
leadership like Abdollah Mohtadi, date back to that time, when Mollah
Avareh and Sharifzadeh were killed. The leadership actually were
like many other Iranian political groups that originated from
Aryamehr University in Tehran.
Before the 60’s, many leaders of Iranian political movement
originated from Technology Faculty of Tehran University, people like
my own cousin Ahmad Ghandchi of 16-Azar, who was one of the three
students killed on Dec 7, 1953, were the 50’s generation. The
brightest students like those of Daneshkadeh Fani and Aryamehr
University were the ones who were originators of the main opposition
groups during Shah’s time.
Komala dates back to those years and to Aryamehr University, and
actually these activists did not view the issue of democracy in
Kurdistan as separate from the rest of Iran. They were *not* even
related to the hezbe demokrAte kordestAn, which dated from the
1941-53 period with views similar to hezbe toodeh. They were closer
to like-minded non-Kurdish Iranian groups, in other parts of Iran,
than to hezbe demokrate kordestan, which was in Kurdistan.
Komala just like all other Iranian intellectual groups of 60’s and
70’s, was more of a new leftist organization, with the difference
that its base was in country-side of Kurdistan. Also because of
opposing guerilla movement, Komala in those years, sided more with
Mao, and engaged in successful political mobilization of the masses,
in contrast to all other intellectual groups of other parts of Iran
that remained intellectual groups with negligible success to create a
As time passed, and Komala saw the issue of dictatorship of socialist
countries, they rejected China and Albania, etc and started searching
beyond the existing socialism, although they still refered/refer to
themselves as socialist. I should note that even when they were
Communists, they opposed Soviet Union and even their support of
China, when they did, was not like some other groups that were
lackeys of the Chinese Communists. Komala leadership were always
In the years after 1981, they united with a very small group from
other parts of Iran by the name of Sahand, and formed a Communist
Party of Iran. But soon they saw this is not what they see as their
ideal. They had one split where basically the old group they had
united with, became the Worker-communist Party of Iran, seeking a
Leninist policy. In a short while, Komala even separated from the
Communist Party of Iran, and called itself Komala again.
A few from Komala stayed with Workers Communist Party. Also there
were a number of people from original Komala, who stayed with the
Communist Party of Iran, call themselves Komalah (with an “h” at the
end), rather than going with the revived Komala, and they are still
part of Communist Party of Iran.
Most of the original team is with Komala, who after discarding
support for China and Albania, started looking beyond Communism .
Even what they call socialism, in their interviews today, they
clearly state their ideals are not anything like what they see in
current socialist countries. In their ideals, they emphasize
democracy, human rights, and social justice within the new world
development and progress of our times and they support a secular
democratic federal republic in Iran.
After studying the relevant literature, the above is my understanding
of Komala and its development. To read heir own views on these
issues, please consult their web site.
Federalism and IRI
The issue of Kurds and federalism is one of those issues that touches
on the region, and IRI wants to broadcast a view that non-Kurd
Iranian political groups do not want federalism, and tries to depict
the proponents of federalism as separatists, whereas the majority of
Iranian opposition today is beginning to side with federalism, and
the Fars ultranationalists is a very small minority.
As I have explained on numerous times, those acting as nationalists
calling the federalist programs as separatist, are more Islamic
Republic proponents rather than being Iranian nationalists, and their
fear is that accepting federalism, would open the way for asking for
more democratic rights for the whole of Iran by all Iranians.
It is IRI misusing ultranationalist facade, just as they did during
the Iraq War, to justify the IRI despotism. Ultranationalist slogans
are a preposterous flag for Islamists, when they have had no respect
for national demands of all Iranians all these years, and when they
have been pushing Islamism on Iran trying to eliminate even Norouz
from Iran, a New Year celebration that Kurds celebrate, as much as
any other part Iranians, if not more.
Recently in Iran, the Islamic Republic agents issued a fake
communiqué, against the rights of Iranian nationalities in education,
forging the signature of Jebhe Melli leaders . The forged document
has been condemned by Jebhe Melli leadership inside Iran. Thus it is
important to know how IRI is trying to attack the Kurdish movement
with such despicable ultra-nationalist fabrications.
The reality is that the slaughter of leftists by IRI in 1981 and
1988, and the murder of leftists by the Shah’s regime, were because
the left had been the most ardent part of the opposition to monarchy
in the 50’s, 60’s, and 70’s, and to IRI in 80’s and 90’s. This is
why they killed even the activists who only had one year jail terms,
and were inside the IRI prisons in 1988, by Khomeini’s decree.
IRI miserably accepted the peace with Saddam, on Saddam’s terms.
Khomeini committed a mass murder of the leftists and others in
September 1988 to ensure to keep the society silent after signing the
accord. And IRI did not stop at killing the leftists, and even
slaughtered Forouhars later, people who were never leftists.
Let me note that my own disagreement with the left is not because of
their struggle against IRI and Shah’s despotism. In fact, in that
regard, I support them fully, and I think they have given the most
number of sacrifices in Iran’s movement for democracy, both during
the Shah and during IRI, and this is why the intelligence agents of
Shah and IRI have the most hatred for the leftists.
My disagreement with the left is because I think their program is
obsolete at the time of post-industrial development and
globalization. I have written my views about the left in the past, in
details and do not need to repeat.
Other Groups in Kurdistan
Many groups that talk of presence in Kurdistan, may have a few
sympathizers there. However, Komala, in my opinion, is the only new
political group, not just in Kurdistan, but in the whole of Iran of
post-1953 years, that ever had and has a mass base, first in the
country-side and then in the cities.
It is true, that in the years of 1941-1953, before the CIA coup,
hezbe toodeh (Tudeh Party ), and Jebhe Melli (Iran National Front),
both had a mass base. And in Kurdistan, in the same period, hezbe
demokrAte kordestan had a mass base. But after 1953, basically I
would say all groups, including mojahedin and cherikha, which were
bigger, hardly had any mass base, and were basically intellectual
Even hezbe toodeh and JebheMelli of the 1953-1979 period, hardly had
any mass base. I believe Komala is the only exception, being a real
mass party, which I think is a good subject to study, as to why they
were so successful in organizing the ordinary people, while others
elsewhere in Iran failed.
When Komala was fighting IRI, almost 90% of the left in other parts
of Iran, not only supported Khomeini in 1979, but the left supported
hostage-taking and the overthrow of Bazargan’s government. And
unfortunately 90% of Iranian progressive movement was leftist in
It is true that some small groups viewed khordad 1360 (may 1980) as
an reactionary coup like Mohammad Ali Shah’s bombardment of majles,
and tried to reverse it by an uprising in 1981, which did not work,
and they were slaughtered with no result, because the progressive
movement, including those forces themselves, had made error after
error in appeasing Islamists, and that is how the 1981 IRI massacre
of the left in all areas of Iran, except Kurdistan, was successful.
Needless to say that, in 1981, I was even threatened to death by some
of leftist groups for questioning Marxism. Nonetheless, I condemn the
anti-Communist bigotry of Islamic Republic of Iran, and I condemn the
violations against the human rights of leftists by IRI forces, just
as I condemn the suppression of human rights of all other
pro-democracy activists of Iran.
There are so many errors in Iranian progressive movement. I have
discussed those issues in details, and have noted the major trends in
the historical turns of the last 25 years in my book Futurist Iran.
I do not care much for the IRI reformists including IRI president
Khatami, although I support a real peaceful change to a federal
secular republic in Iran.
Iran and Iranians are different from IRI (Islamic Republic of Iran)
and IRI officials. Iran and Iranians are very modern, and we had a
constitutional revolution calling for civil law and modern society,
with a system based on Constitutional Law, over one hundred years
In fact Islamic Theocracy has now helped the *grass root* in Iran to
resent mollahs, and to call for secularity and futurist modernity,
and a referendum for new constitution, and regime change, at the
deepest levels of society, unprecedented in any other Middle Eastern
Iranian political groups should recognize a federalist solution for
Iran, before the Islamic Republic falls apart, or else Iran may turn
into another Yugoslavia. The Komala Party can be play an important
role to help the success of a democratic solution in Iran.
Hoping for a Futurist, Federal, Democratic, and Secular Republic in
Sam Ghandchi, Editor/Publisher
April 28, 2004
From: Emil Lazarian | Ararat NewsPress