Kurdish Autonomy Contravenes Iran's Interests

(BESA Center for Strategic Studies-Bar-Ilan University) Dr. Doron Itzchakov - Does Tehran's opposition to the Kurdish referendum on independence stem from fear of separatism among the Iranian Kurds? Iranian Kurds have far less pronounced national aspirations than those of their counterparts elsewhere. From 1989 to 1996, a string of assassinations of leaders of the Iranian Kurdish movement left a leadership vacuum that remains to this day. Moreover, the Iranian Kurdish minority, estimated at 7.5 million, is marked by religious, party, ideological, and tribal differences. Unlike in other countries where the Kurdish minority is mostly Sunni, in Iran, a considerable proportion of Kurds are Shiite and receive preferential treatment from government institutions. Tehran's opposition to the nationalist tendencies of the Iraqi Kurds stems from other motives as well. It is well known that Iran has penetrated Iraq's political, diplomatic, and security spheres and influences its decision-makers. For Iran, the establishment of an independent tract of land that is not under its authority and likely to disrupt its operative and strategic plans is out of the question. The writer is a research associate at the BESA Center.

2017-10-02 00:00:00

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