Kurdish Iranian opposition leader wants Iran to embrace all races

In an interview on Al Arabiya’s program, Point of Order (Noqtat Nezam), the leader of the "Kumola,” the Kurdish Iranian opposition, Abdullah Mohtadi, told presenter Hassan Mouawad that all the Iranian Kurds want is basic political, cultural and national rights from the international community.

Mohtadi said that the "Kumola” supported the Green Movement in 2009 under the belief that it would be a vehicle of change.

"In general, the Kurdish people and other ethnic minorities really didn’t take part in that movement as much as we wanted or as much as was expected, mainly because the green movement did not have any particular idea or promise how to solve the oppression and the plights of these nationalities.”

"The Green Movement was confined to the capital of Iran, Tehran, and this is one of the main weak points of that movement,” Mohtadi said.

In one example, Mohtadi said that while it is recognized in the Iranian constitution that ethnic minorities have the right to study a language other than Persian, it is not actually allowed. Aside language rights, Mohtadi also provided an example of religion.

While Mohtadi said it wasn’t entirely an issue of Sunnis versus Shiites, he said discrimination did exist.

When asked if the ultimate goal for Iranian Kurds was a bigger Kurdish state, Mohtadi disagreed. He said federalism in his opinion was the only way to achieve a united Iran.

"The fact is that along with Persian speaking people, we have five different ethnic groups or nationalities in Iran who have their own mother tongue, their own culture, and they live on their own land.

"I think we can reach a kind of compromise on regional federalism, which at the same time is more or less federalism on the basis of different nationalities.”

According to Mohtadi, it is in the interest of the Arab world and Turkey to support the Iranian democratic movement, in particular the Kurdish movement and other elements, as well as improve neighborly ties.

"Don't you think it is more reasonable for us to seek our allies, among our immediate neighbors, the peoples whom we share common cultures and religious beliefs with. We have lived with Iranian, Arabs and Turks for centuries, and in fact with Iranians for thousands of years.

"And so it is better, more reasonable for us, to seek allies among them but at the same time I must stress that we are not shouting aggressive slogans at groups of people or trying to annihilate them. We want to have good friendly relationships with all regional countries in the Middle East,” he said.

Financial support is another reason for Kurdish Iran to look to its neighbors, with Mohtadi adding that the party does not seek international, specifically Western, intervention.

"We think that the change in Iran must come from within but it is very important that the international community and regional countries support the Iranian movement, the movement of Kurds, Arabs, and Baluchis and everyone for change in Iran. So what we ask is the support of the international community, political support, media support, and so on, but not military intervention,” he said.

Mohtadi concluded that the pursuit in fulfilling goals for the Kurdish people surpasses the conflicts the Iranian regime has with the rest of the international community.
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