human rights watch

torsdag 10 juli 2014

Iran Arming Turkmen in Kirkuk and Pushing PUK to Oppose Independence

Iran Arming Turkmen in Kirkuk and Pushing PUK to Oppose Independence

Special Report from Kirkuk by Ali Javanmardi, July 3, 2014

A source at the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) disclosed that General Ghasem Soleimani, the Commander of the Iranian Quds Force had met with Adel Murad a member of the PUK leadership, on two occasions during which he received assurances that PUK would not support the declaration of Kurdish independence. Masoud Barzani, President of the Kurdish Regional Government is generally expected to make the announcement before the end 2015.

The same source also revealed that Iran is currently training and arming Shiite Turkmen of the Kirkuk area and instructing them to coordinate with the PUK. At the same time, it is trying to influence PUK through Adel Murad to join the fight against Da’esh (ISIL) and other radical Sunni elements south of Kirkuk.

Adel Murad has promised Iran to support Iraqi unity in order to undermine Masoud Barzani and keep him from strengthening his position among the Kurds by declaring Kurdish independence.

According to the same source, another well-known member of the PUK leadership Dr. Barham Saleh opposes the Iranian position against Kurdish independence. This has led supporters of Adel Murad to accuse him of being close to Barzani’s party.

The issue of whether to support Iran’s plans for Iraqi unity in return for their unfailing cooperation, or to support their old rival Masoud Barzani’s plans for independence, has created a serious split among the top PUK leadership.

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