Iranian revolution: The Kurdish uprising


Witness History

The story of a boy caught up in the forgotten war for Kurdish autonomy in Iran in 1979. During the Iranian revolution, Kurdish groups had joined the struggle to end the rule of the Shah. They wanted greater autonomy for Iran’s Kurdish minority. But after the revolution, the new Islamic regime rejected that demand. A conflict erupted between government forces and Kurdish Peshmerga fighters, which lasted for years and left thousands dead. Kameel Ahmady is an anthropologist and researcher. At the time he was a boy living in the ethnically-mixed town of Naqadeh in northwest Iran. He tells Alex Last how, as demands for autonomy grew, his town became the scene of bitter ethnic fighting.

Photo: Armed Kurdish villagers after the revolution in Iran, March 1979. (François LOCHON/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images)


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