The Democratic Party of Iranian Kurdistan (PDKI) will continue armed resistance against the Iranian regime, the group’s leader said in an exclusive interview with the BBC Persian published on January 30. Mustafa Hijri, PDKI’s secretary general, added that their resistance was not “just for the Kurds in Iran’s Kurdistan, but it is a struggle against the Islamic Republic for all of Iran.” The BBC correspondent who was visiting PDKI’s headquarters, located in the Iraqi Kurdistan, said the group has deployed its forces to mountainous regions along the Iran-Iraq border.  

PDKA had renounced violence two decades ago, but it recently resumed militancy almost two years ago, claiming that dialogue with the Iranian regime failed to yield results. PDKI militants based in the Iraqi Kurdistan have repeatedly crossed the border and clashed with Iran’s Revolutionary Guards in the Iranian province of Kurdistan.

Tehran claims that Iranian Kurdish groups receive support from regional governments, including Saudi Arabia, to fight Iran. But Hijri rejected the allegations saying that it is the Iranian regime’s policy to paint not just the Kurds but all resistance groups and political activists as foreign pawns.

Nechervan Barzani, the prime minister of the Kurdistan Regional Government, told the BBC Persian that he had made it clear to the Iranian Kurdish groups not to use the Iraqi territory as a base to attack Iran or other countries. But the group claims its presence on the Iraqi soil is justified because the Iranian regime does not allow any political dissent inside Iran. Last year, human rights groups condemned the execution of at least 20 Kurdish activists by the Iranian government.