Iranian Kurdistan (Eastern Kurdistan) - There are an estimated four million Kurds currently living in Iran - about 7% of Iran's total population - and most live in the area officially called Iranian Kurdistan, and which is also known as Eastern Kurdistan, in the context of there being a Greater Kurdistan. This includes parts of West Azerbaijan province, Kurdistan Province, Kermanshah Province and Ilam Province. Kurds are a minority in Iran, but form a majority in that region of the country, and they are currently allowed to express their individual culture in Iran, to some degree, although it has been decimated throughout recent history. In the early part of the 20th century, the Iranian government started a campaign to de-Kurdify the area, after some failed independence bids by the Kurds. Kurdish tribal chiefs were exiled, and lands were confiscated from Kurdish landowners. There was then a massive push to get rid of the Kurdish language, and it was banned from being taught, but things remained relatively stable up until the 1979 Iranian Islamic Revolution, which the majority of Kurds supported. The leader of the revolution, Ayatollah Khomeini, did not reciprocate that support, and quickly announced a Jihad (Holy War) on the Kurds who were seeking independence (Sunni Kurds, who form about 60% of Iranian Kurds, the rest being Shia), along with other non-Kurdish opposing voices. Although most Iranian Kurd's were not openly seeking a breakaway from Iran, Khomeini was worried that the Kurd's independence aspirations may come again to the fore, and he was deeply suspicious of their different language, culture and cross-border relationships with other Kurdish populations in Iraq, Syria, Turkey and Armenia. Large-scale military power brought all of the main Kurdish towns and cities under direct Iranian control, and about 10,000 Kurds were slaughtered, many of whom by execution without trial, just because they disagreed with the new Iranian constitution, which did not allow for any regional autonomy. Since the 1990's there have been various protests by Kurds, which have left scores dead, usually by heavy-handed Iranian military actions against unarmed protestors, but no major battle for independence has been allowed to flourish amongst Iranian Kurdistan.
The Kurdish Question:
Kurdistan (Greater Kurdistan)
- Iranian Kurdistan (Eastern Kurdistan)
- Iraqi Kurdistan (Southern Kurdistan)
- Syrian Kurdistan (Western Kurdistan)
- Turkish Kurdistan (Northern Kurdistan)