ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan 24) – Iranian Kurds on Monday celebrated a successful independence referendum held in the Kurdistan Region, defying regional and Western pressures to postpone it.
The cities of Sanandaj (Sina), Baneh, Mariwan, Mahabad, and others in the Kurdish region saw a large group of people dancing and honking on the streets, despite risks involved.
Human rights groups, citing locals, say the Kurdish cities witness a larger than average presence of Iranian security details on the streets. This has not stopped an excited crowd from expressing their delight at watching neighboring Kurds make a historic step toward independence.
Despite a century of living across different borders, tragedies and victories in one part of the ancient Kurdish land have always affected the rest.
Whether in Iran, Iraq, Turkey, Syria, or the Diaspora, Kurds are proud of the 2015 victory of Kobani over the Islamic State (IS) and shiver when remembering the 1988 gassing of Halabja or the 1937-8 Dersim massacre.
For a nation that has faced annihilation because of statelessness, independence is an ageless dream, one whose feasibility has long been debated until today’s referendum.
Hostile neighboring powers Iran and Turkey, whose Kurdish population is suffocating under iron fists, openly oppose the referendum.
Iran, which has been boasting its widespread influence in the region—mainly in war-torn Syria and Iraq—has condemned the move and threatened the Kurdistan Region.
It halted air travel to Kurdistan yesterday.
Analysts told Kurdistan 24 the referendum would affect the life of Iranian Kurds in different ways.
Editing by Karzan Sulaivany