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 Kurdish revolt grows in Iranian Kurdistan

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Kurdish revolt grows in Iranian Kurdistan  23.8.1979   


Reports say 600 have been killed in the fighting.
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August 23, 1979

PAVEH, Iranian Kurdistan,— Kurds in Iran have ousted government troops from a large area near the Iraqi border.

However, they have full control of only one town, Mahabad, the centre of Iranian Kurdistan in the north-west of the country.

The revolt began last week when Kurdish tribesmen overpowered Iranian soldiers in the nearby town of Paveh.

The fighting later spread to the towns of Divan Darreh, Saqqez and Mahabad which was briefly the capital of an independent Kurdish republic from 1946-7.

Iran's four million Kurds have been disappointed the ousting of the Shah and the setting up of an Islamic state has not brought them more autonomy.


Many of the 15 million Kurds inhabiting the mountainous area where Iran, Iraq, Turkey, Syria and the Soviet republic of Armenia meet want it to be declared an independent state.

But Turkey and Iraq in particular have always resisted giving up sovereignty over their portions of Kurdistan. Earlier this year Kurdish leaders met Iran's spiritual leader, Ayatollah Khomeini, who warned them against trying to break away from Iran.

Many Kurdish leaders have now gone into hiding after Ayatollah Khomeini ordered their arrest.

In spite of the current fighting, Iran's Kurds say they do not want to sever the territory from the rest of the country.

"If we cut ourselves off we would have only the mountains and the goats. We would die from hunger," said one Kurdish leader.

Iranian newspaper reports have put the number killed so far at about 600.

Traditionally, Iran's Kurds have been less strident in their demands for independence and have rarely resorted to violence.

They have more in common with the majority population who are Persians than Kurds in Turkey and Iraq have with the majority Arabs there.

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