Exclusive - Kurdish Opposition Party Says Politics, Arms Needed in Dealing with Tehran

Since the formation of the Iraqi Kurdistan Region government in 1992, two anti-Iran parties, the Komala Party of Iranian Kurdistan and the Democratic Party of Iranian Kurdistan (KDPI), decided to suspend their armed activities against Iranian forces. They took the decision to respect the political situation in the Kurdish region and avoid giving Tehran the excuses to expand into the area.

In return, ruling parties in Kurdistan continued to provide financial support to the two anti-Iran opposition Kurdish parties.

Komala has posts based in mountainous terrain north of Sulaymaniyah, and the KDPI is based in the city of Koy Sanjaq, Erbil Governorate.

Over time, divisions led the KDPI to split into the Democratic Party of Iranian Kurdistan, led by Mustafa Hijri, the Kurdistan Democratic Party (PDK), led by Mostafa Mouloudi. Komala, meanwhile, split into three branches.

These parties stayed away from arms for 15 years, up until two years ago when the KPDI resumed its armed operations deep inside Iran. It has over the years dealt heavy blows to positions of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards that are deployed heavily in the Kurdish regions in Iran. The Iranian regime retaliates by assassinating KDPI leaders and fighters inside the Kurdistan region.

Komala, until this very day, maintains a military silence, despite having a significant number of trained and armed fighters with medium and light weapons at their disposal.

Association for Human Rights in Kurdistan of Iran (KMMK) official and Komala offshoot leader Omar Alikhanzadeh said that his party resumed armed activity against Iran from 2009 until late 2013, but found it “futile and useless when compared to political and civil action.”

“We are now adopting a large-scale political project aimed at mobilizing masses politically and offering wider prospects for anti-Iranian political action,” Alikhanzadeh told Asharq Al-Awsat.

Working to form an entity which has both military and political wings operating inside Iranian territory, Alikhanzadeh said that the Komala plans further training and rehabilitation of military forces in border areas.

Despite using charged rhetoric, Alikhanzadeh said that the time for direct confrontation with the Iranian regime has not yet come.

He elaborated further by saying that Komala-linked fighters lack an elemental strategic depth, proper logistics, and financial support.

Over more, he said that Kurdish opposition members have also suffered pressure practiced by the Iraqi Kurdistan government, which has cut off all funding to opposition parties.

Speaking on toppling the Iranian regime, the official said it has to be a public choice taken and carried out by Iranians with no external drivers.

“The collapse of the Iranian is inevitable. The Iranian public disagrees with the regime structure, especially over its blatant involvement in spurring regional chaos, instead of focusing on internal affairs, such as the deteriorating living standards.”

Summing up recent riots in Iran, Alikhanzadeh said that the regime’s shortcoming has instigated an unprecedented wave of rejection and discontent against the rulers of Tehran.

As for the prospects of rapprochement between conflicting Komala offshoots Alikhanzadeh said that there is hope.

“We recently formed a center for joint cooperation between all the opposing Kurdish forces and parties. We outlined joint efforts, especially on working together to topple the current Tehran regime and replace it with a democratic alternative instead.”