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There were also Peshmerga guerrillas of the Kurdistan Democratic Party of Iran slipping into Iran to keep their struggle for autonomy alive.Halabja – known internationally for the March 1988 Iraqi chemical attack in which some 5,000 Kurdish civilians died – was already a stronghold of the Islamic Movement of Kurdistan, and while the mainly Sunni Kurds were never natural allies of the Shiite authorities in Tehran, the following years brought Iranian support for Islamic groups in this part of Iraq, largely to keep pressure on the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan, the Iraqi Kurdish faction controlling this half of northern Iraq.Some Ansar fighters crossed the border, but many perished as Iran closed it off.Nawsherwan Mustapha, then a senior PUK official, told me in early 2005 that Iran was no longer backing Ansar al-Islam.But at the same time, Kurdish autonomy in Iraq stirred interest among Iran's own 7-8 million Kurds, and Iran's deepest concern with Kurdish issues had always been its own population.Within Iran, Kurds were watching Iraqi Kurdish television stations and celebrating the election of a Kurd, Jalal Talabani, as president of Iraq. This was way above the 51 percent in favor across Iran.
Iran’s elections have already begun
The nuclear deal and Iran’s elections
Iran’s Kurdish problem in perspective
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