Demands of Iranian protesters are just and democratic, while the Iranian state aggravating the situation further in the weeks of turmoil in the country “even poses a danger for the state itself”, Kurdistan Communities Union (KCK) Executive Council Co-chair Cemil Bayık said in an interview on Tuesday.
Thousands of Iranian women took to the streets after 22-year-old Kurdish woman Jîna Mahsa Amini died on 16 September while in the custody of the Islamic republic’s morality police. In the four weeks since, Iranian authorities have confirmed the death of 41 people, while human rights organisations report as many as 201 civilian deaths at the hands of security forces. At least 28 of the civilian casualties are believed to be minors.
“The Iranian state should listen to the women and society in general. It needs to establish a dialogue with them,” Bayık said.
Instead of approaching the protesters’ legitimate and democratic demands, Iran “wants to eliminate these demands with violence”, Bayık continued. “This only leads to more deaths and a deepening of the existing problems. The Iranian state needs to realize that the methods it uses only aggravate the existing problems instead of solving them.”
Authorities in Iran have blamed the month-long uprising on foreign powers, namely the United States and Israel. “How realistic is this? Some people may believe this, but society does not,” Bayık said. “America and Israel did not kill Jîna. An institution of the Iranian state did. This Kurdish woman was murdered in their custody.”
While foreign powers may have benefited, it was Iranian authorities who laid the groundwork for the uprisings, according to the KCK co-chair. “If you don’t want foreign countries to interfere in your internal affairs and create problems, then you need to solve your internal problems,” he said.
“Kurdish and Iranian women are fighting for democracy and freedom. They were the ones who overthrew the Shah [in 1979],” Bayık said, before the Islamic elements took over. “If it had continued, Iran would have become a democratic country … Instead, they turned into a hegemony themselves … That is why they are now in conflict with the women together with whom they overthrew the Shah.”
“Women are claiming their freedom. This means claiming the freedom of the people,” Bayık said. The co-chair added that Iran’s mistaken belief that Kurds had provoked the protests led to a harsh crackdown on the Kurdistan province.
Turkey and Iran “should not use violence against the Kurdish people”, Bayık said, urging for dialogue. “The deeper the Kurdish question gets in Iran, the bigger the problems in Iran will get.”