The Middle East Institute is proud to host Carol Prunhuber, Sharif Behruz and Idris Ahmedi and for a lecture about the political, social and human rights status of Iran's Kurds, one of the country's largest ethnic groups. Iran's Kurdish population has long pushed for autonomy, and in 1979 Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini declared a "holy war" against the Kurds in Iran seeking self-rule. Since then the relationship between Iran's Kurds and the Islamic Republic has been characterized by frequent military crackdowns.
Prunhuber will speak about Kurd leader Abdul Rahman Ghassemlou whose untimely assassination by the Iranian regime twenty years ago robbed the Kurdish nation of one of its most prominent and forward-thinking leaders. Her recently published book The Passion and Death of Rahman the Kurd: Dreaming Kurdistan (iUniverse, 2010) situates the life and political struggle of Ghassemlou in the wider Iranian political context. Sharif Behruz will address the impact of Iran’s Green Movement on minority groups like the Kurds and the need for Iran’s opposition to be more inclusive in order to gain significant political ground. Idris Ahmedi will discuss contending perspectives on the future of Iran with respect to its ethnic diversity. Is diversity a threat to Iran's territorial integrity, or a facilitator to the rise of meaningful democracy?