Kurdish leaders in Iran ordered a ceasefire by their guerrilla forces on Saturday while peace talks with three government ministers took place in Mahabad.
Kurdish leaders in Iran ordered a ceasefire by their guerrilla forces on Saturday while peace talks with three government ministers took place in Mahabad. A spokesman for the Kurdish Democratic Party (KDP) said the ceasefire was ordered by Party leader Abdolrahman Qassemlou and Kurdish spiritual leader Sheik Ezzeddin Hosseini. Iran State radio, giving wide coverage to the peace initiative, never mentioned the officially banned KDP, but only that the ministers were talking with unnamed leaders. The KDP has warned other groups that any settlement must be made under the leadership of the party.
SYNOPSIS: Two of the three Ministers, Iran's Interior Minister Hashem Sabbaghian and Provincial Affairs Minister Dariush Forouhar were introduced to the crowd, gathered at the Governor's office in Mahabad.
The commission arrived in the rebel capital on Friday (2 November) and announced that Iranian authorities were prepared to concede some form of self-rule to the Kurdish province.
The three-man team flew into the guerrilla-controlled city, in a helicopter landing inside an army-held barracks. They proceeded by car, accompanied by provincial officials and without guards, to the governor's office to speak to crowd of about three thousand.
Mr. Sabbaghian hinted that the three-month old ban on the KDP party might be lifted.
In his speech, Provincial Affairs Minister Forouhar said the people of Kurdistan had repeatedly resorted to arms to back their demands and asked that those demands now be discussed in the political negotiations. He said attention was not payed to the political talks, destruction of both sides would result.
The crowd, which included armed guerrilla marshals, applauded when Mr. Forouhar told them their legitimate rights would be met by the government. On their demands for limited self-rule, he said the maintenance of cultural characteristics and local control of the internal affairs of the province have always been acceptable to the government.
KDP officials deny there is a split between their leader Mr Qassemlou and Kurdish spiritual leader Sheik Hosseini. But a spokesman for the left-wing revolutionary Organisation of Toilers said while the KDP sought autonomy for the Kurds, the Toilers and their People's Fedayeen allies sought the establishment of a democratic system throughout Iran.
Despite the ceasefire some fighting was reported in Baneh, south of Mahabad, involving rebels, revolutionary troops and revolutionary guards, with dozens of people reported killed.