A video grab from the scene of clashes during Noruz celebrations. FILE PHOTO

A video grab from the scene of clashes during Noruz celebrations

Nowruz Brings Kurdish Unrest In Iran’s North West


Social media users reported security forces clashing with gatherings of people celebrating Noruz (Nowruz) in the mainly Kurdish city of Oshnavieh, in Iran.

Sunday evening, special forces attacked the people of Oshnavieh in northwest Iran to prevent the celebrations from taking place. Clashes broke out when people resisted, and security forces started beating them with batons and fired tear gas.

The situation was reported tense in many Kurdish cites as residents ignored warnings by the government against celebrating the ancient Iranian New Year according to Kurdish traditions with large get-togethers involving traditional dance and music.

The Kurdish political parties, which support autonomy, are based in neighboring northern Iraq, where there has been a self-governing Kurdish entity since 1991.

For over two and half millennia, long before the advent of Islam in the 7th century, Noruz (Nowruz), which falls on spring equinox, has been marked across central Asia as far as China. Noruz literally translates as 'New Day but has long taken on a political significance for Kurds in Turkey, Iran, Syria and Iraq.

Iran’s oldest Kurdish party, the Kurdish Democratic Party of Iran (KDPI), supports a self-governing Kurdish entity within a federal state. Two of its leaders – Abdolraham Ghassemlou and Sadegh Sharafkandi – were murdered in Europe in 1989 and 1991, possibly on orders from Tehran.

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