Political Realities Leave Iran’s Kurds Divided, Weak and Ineffective

Fighters from the Kurdish Democratic Party of Iran (KDPI), Feb. 7, 2015 (Flickr photo by kurdishstruggle licensed under the Attribution 2.0 Generic license).
Fighters from the Kurdish Democratic Party of Iran (KDPI), Feb. 7, 2015 (Flickr photo by kurdishstruggle licensed under the Attribution 2.0 Generic license).

Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Corps and Kurdish rebels from the Kurdish Democratic Party of Iran clashed late last month along Iran’s mountainous border with Iraq. In an email interview, Denise Natali, a distinguished research fellow at the Institute for National Strategic Studies, National Defense University, discusses the relationship between the Iranian government and Iran’s Kurdish minority. WPR: How large is Iran’s Kurdish population, and how integrated are they into Iranian society? Denise Natali: Kurds are estimated to represent about 8 to 10 percent of the Iranian population, or about 6 million to 8 million people. They are not a monolithic community; […]

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