Kurdish Aspect covers issues related to Kurds and Kurdistan within the larger context of Middle Eastern concerns. The website offers readers a treasure of information as a useful guide to know how others view the Kurds. Kurdish aspect is proud that a significant number of contributors who have a deep understanding and experience in Kurdish history, culture and politics constantly write for the website. Kurdish Aspect also publishes the quarterly Kurdish Aspect Magazine."> PJAK leader says Iran wants to control the KRG by installing Islamist radicals in Qendil

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August 10, 2011

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PJAK leader says Iran wants to control the KRG by installing Islamist radicals in Qendil


In a recent interview, Abdul Rahman Haji Ahmadi, the leader of the Party for a Free Life in Kurdistan (PJAK), indicated that his organization has been in a defense position and that it is not responsible for the recent attacks by the Islamic Republic of Iran's military. Ahmadi declared that PJAK was ultimately successful in defending its bases against Iran's military incursions, but that his party is still prepared to negotiate with the Islamic Republic if they reached out to them. He also explained that Iran's ultimate intentions are to capture the mountains of Qendil where his rebels are based, and hand them over to the al-Qaeda affiliate Ansar al-Islam, in order to be able to control the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) of Iraq.

Haji Ahmadi said that his organization had successfully obtained information about Iran's attacks on their strongholds in Qendil. In the interview, he touted his rebels' ability to defend and strike blows to the Iranian military. He said that his rebel forces killed more than 300 Iranian Revolutionary Guards troops, which included 3 generals and 15 commanders, while his party only suffered 16 casualties. Iranian state-run media confirmed that the Revolutionary Guards was taking heavy losses. Although Iran did not announce the total numbers, they did confirm that one of their commanding generals was killed and that fiver senior officers were also killed in the fighting.

The PJAK leader said that he is proud of his rebels and the sacrifice they are making in the name of freedom for both Kurdistan and Iran. However, despite the military victory for PJAK, Ahmadi said, killing is nothing to be proud of: "We are proud of our party and the bravery of our members. But we can never be proud of killing. Those killed are also sons. They are human beings [..] But we are only defending ourselves. They are attacking us and we are defending ourselves, and we are proud of our ability to defend ourselves."

Ahmadi explained that his organization has been strictly in a defense mode and implied that any military fights between his party and the Iranian military has been initiated by Iran. He also spoke about the villagers along the Iraq border who have died and those who have incurred damages to their livelihoods. Ahmadi explained that however long the fight may continue, there will be no victory through violence. He said that his party was open to negotiations and has always been willing to lay down its arms if the Islamic regime guaranteed them the ability to do political work without being arrested, tortured, or killed. Ahmadi said, "PJAK did not come out of the sky [..] We would like to [return] to doing political work without the threats of arrest, or being tortured or killed."

Meanwhile, Iranian officials have vowed to continue military operations against PJAK. An Iranian Governor-General, Vahid Jalalzadeh, recently stated that the Iranian Revolutionary Guards would continue its operations "up to the end". Haji Ahmadi underlined a deeper political interest in Iran to root out his organization from Qendil. He warned interests in the region that the Islamic Republic of Iran is trying to replace his organization's presence in Qendil with that of Ansar al-Islam and Hezbollah. He explained that by doing this, Iran hopes to then be able to control the federal region of Kurdistan, along with the whole of Iraq.

Haji Ahmadi currently resides in Germany. Iranian authorities have been demanding that Germany put the rebel leader on trial. Despite living outside of Iran, many say that his life still could be at risk. In 1992, Iran carried out an assassination against another Kurdish dissident, Sadegh Sharafkandi, who was then leading the Kurdistan Democratic Party of Iran or KDPI. He was the second high-profile Kurdish dissident to be assassinated after his predecessor, Abdul Rahman Ghassemlou, was killed in Austria in 1989.

When asked why he was not in Qendil alongside his rebels, Ahmadi explained that the party structure required him to engage in political activities in Europe in order to pursue support outside of Iran for their movement. Ahmadi said that if his party structure changes such that he would better serve Kurdish interests from Qendil, he would return to Kurdistan.

Ahmadi said that PJAK is fighting for democracy for all Iranians. He explained that Kurds were just one segment of Iran and that Kurds would not be able to achieve full political freedom unless all of Iran was freed first. When asked about the divisions among Kurds, Ahmadi confidently pointed to the political unity that has been achieved in other parts of Kurdistan, including Syria where at least 12 Kurdish parties have recently come together, and said that this was also possible for Kurds in Iran. He explained that he had already met and spoken with other Kurdish leaders from Iran and that they would identify common grounds for unity.

US officials recently reported that Iran is directly supporting al-Qaeda members in Iran. The US Treasury released a statement that alleges Iran has been funneling funds to al-Qaeda and allows them to operate freely. Just recently, a PJAK spokesperson said that his members witnessed al-Qaeda affiliates from Ansar al-Islam assisting Iran in the attacks against Qendil. Iran accuses the US of supporting PJAK rebels, despite the US Treasury's listing of PJAK as a terrorist organization. PJAK has denied receiving any support from the US, although Haji Ahmadi has said that his party would gladly accept such support if it were offered. 

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