human rights watch

måndag 18 januari 2016

Iranian Kurdish party says Iran will use freed sanctions money to consolidate military

Iranian Kurdish party says Iran will use freed sanctions money to consolidate military.

The KDPI's Hasan Sharafi. Photo: Rezhgar Dashti.

COPENHAGEN, Denmark – Not everyone is delighted by the lifting of decades of international economic sanctions against Iran, in exchange for the Islamic Republic significantly curtailing its nuclear program: Hasan Sharafi, deputy secretary general of the the Kurdistan Democratic Party of Iran (KDPI), expressed his party’s skepticism.
“Iran will take advantage of the lifting of sanctions to reinforce its support for groups in the Middle East that create instability,” Sharafi told Rudaw, during a visit to Copenhagen on the occasion of the 70th anniversary of the Kurdish Republic in Mahabad, Iran.
"If the Iranian regime was a democratic government and the result of the lifting of sanctions would benefit the people, then I would be optimistic," said Sharafi.
Iran's banking and oil sector have been heavily sanctioned over the course of nearly a decade in response to its nuclear activities. Under a deal signed with the US and other international powers, sanctions were finally lifted against Iran on Saturday, freeing up close to $100bn of frozen Iranian assets abroad, as well as trading openly in oil and banking with with the world.
"Iran will not use the released money to benefit the population or improve the quality of school or health care," Sharafi believed.
The EU foreign policy chief, Federica Mogherini, on Sunday  said the lifting of the sanctions would contribute to improved regional and international peace and security.
But  Sharafi disagreed.
"Iran will use the lifting of the sanctions to buy weapons, consolidate its military institutions and fund armed groups that are close to Iran, namely Hezbollah in Lebanon, the Houthis in Yemen, the Assad regime in Syria."
Iran’s large Kurdish minority live in some of the most deprived areas of Iran and complain of discrimination and denial of the right to study in their own ethnic language at public schools in Kurdish regions.
Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani recently promised to give minorities more positions in government.
In the summer of 2015, the first tangible sign for Kurds, Saleh Adebi, a Sunni Kurd, was appointed as the country's first ambassador to Vietnam and Cambodia.
Janne Bjerre Christensen, a researcher at the Danish Institute for International Studies, maintained that it is yet uncertain how Iran will spend the money it is getting.
"But my guess is that President Rouhani will use the money to create economic momentum and that it will benefit the Iranian population, including the Kurds," she told Rudaw. "I don’t think the Iranians will spend all the money on Syria, Yemen and Lebanon," she added.
Generally, Bjerre thought the nuclear deal is "a giant step towards peace."
"Iran's nuclear program is no longer a threat and this is positive."
Hours after the United States and European Union formally announced the removing of the economic sanctions,  US President Barack Obama announced that a some economic sanctions would still remain against Iran.

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