Conflicting Interests: Tehran and the National Aspirations of the Iraqi Kurds

By December 14, 2017

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: The national aspirations of the Kurdish minority in Iraq pose a challenge to the four countries that have a large Kurdish population. It is not by chance that the decision to hold a referendum provoked furious reactions among the leaders of Iraq, Iran, Turkey and Syria. According to the received wisdom, the success of Iraq’s Kurdish minority in realizing its national self-determination will serve as a catalyst for separatist tendencies among the Iranian Kurds. However, Tehran’s firm opposition to the move stems not only from the fear of a “chain reaction” but also from strategic and geopolitical consideration. In other words, the controversy between Shiite Iran and the Kurdish minority in Iraq is not the result of an historical memory of an uprising that led to the establishment of the “Republic of Mahabad” in the 1940s, but consists of other levels that express opposing aspirations in a changing geopolitical space.

Download PDF

Dr. Doron Itzchakov
Dr. Doron Itzchakov

(Ph.D. Tel Aviv University) Specializes in the history and politics of modern Iran, Iran-Israel relations, Iranian foreign policy. Email: [email protected]