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Iranian Kurds Say Uprising is Possible

Reprinted from
Kenneth R. Timmerman
Friday, Aug. 3, 2007

 An Iranian Kurdish group whose fighters have clashed frequently with government forces in Iran has sent its top leader to Washington, D.C., to seek assistance from the United States government.

Rahman Haj Ahmadi, president of the Kurdistan Free Life Party (PJAK), told NewsMax in an exclusive interview that he hoped to meet with senior administration officials to discuss the situation inside Iran and how the U.S. could help the opposition.

"PJAK has thousands of fighters in the mountains of Iran and deep inside Iranian cities," he said. "With U.S. help, we will lead the Kurdish people in an uprising that could spread to the whole of Iran."

PJAK fighters seized government buildings in Marivan briefly in the summer of 2005, in armed clashes with regime security forces that spread to major cities and towns through the Kurdish region. The clashes were sparked by the brutal murder of a Kurdish human rights activist.

Ahmadi and his group have been accused by the Tehran regime of being lackeys of the U.S. government. The July-August 2005 clashes occurred after PJAK officials met with U.S. military leaders in northern Iraq, Tehran alleged.

Such accusations make Ahmadi smile. "Actually, this is the first time we have had contacts here in Washington," he told NewsMax. "We would love to have received U.S. help, but until now we have had no direct contacts with the U.S. government."

"We, the 12 to 14 million Kurds in Iran, will be the dependable and loyal allies of the USA and the democratic world," he added.

 PJAK claims that its armed resistance fighters control the streets of major towns and cities in northwestern Iran after the Revolutionary Guards troops return to barracks in the late afternoons.

Forty percent of their fighters are women, Ahmadi claims. Women also make up 50 percent of the group's political leadership. "We are a decidedly modern party," he said.

"Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad says he is waiting for the badieh zaman," the legendary 12th imam of Shia Islam whose return brings justice to the world.

"We also believe in the badieh zaman," he chuckled. "For us, he is George W. Bush."

Based in Europe, Ahmadi recently returned from a three-month tour of his fighters' positions inside Iran.

 He told NewsMax that his organization is seeking to join forces with other opposition groups, from republicans to monarchists, to forge a common program of action to topple the regime."

"In our mountains, we can train people from all the other groups. We can train them politically, and militarily," he said. "They can then act in their own name, under their own banner."

The immediate goal, he said, was to get rid of the system of absolute clerical rule, known as velayat-e faghih. "We want Iran to become a secular democratic republic," he said.

"In the longer term, we would like to see Iran become a confederation, where the rights of all ethnic groups will be guaranteed within a single, united Iran."

He specifically rejected charges that his group was "separatist," or that it favored in any way the break-up of Iran.

But Ahmadi also warned that when Iran's ethnic minorities launch their uprising, the temptation by some groups to establish ethnically-pure autonomous areas would be great.

"We must avoid ethnic cleansing at all costs," he said.

Iran's 70 million population is ethnically diverse, and includes millions of Azeris, Kurds, Balouch, Ahwazi Arabs, Turkomans, and others. Approximately 35 percent of the population is ethnically Persian.

But over the centuries, Iran's various populations have moved around, intermarried and intermingled. Iran's Kurdish areas, for example, are home to hundreds of thousands of ethnic Azeris. Roughly 1 million Kurds live in Tehran.

This complex ethnic mosaic makes internal borders, or a Yugoslav-style partition of the country into separate ethnic states both "unrealistic" and "undesirable," Ahmadi said.

Instead, PJAC favors a loosely structured confederation along the lines of Belgium or Switzerland. "But of course, all of that is long in the future. It will take fifty years of negotiations!" he said.

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