Kurdish candidates in the western Iranian provinces of Urumiya and Naghada secured most of the votes in the parliamentary elections held earlier this month. This came despite some Kurdish candidates boycotting the elections and Kurdish dissident groups condemning them. Rostam Jahangiri, a politburo member of the Kurdistan Democratic Party-Iran (KDPI), believes Iranian authorities deliberately let the Kurdish candidates win the elections in those areas. “Most of the Kurds in Urumiya boycotted the elections, but the Iranian authorities changed the results, allowing the Kurdish nominees to win,” he told Rudaw.
Two Kurdish candidates, Abid Fatahi in Urumiya and Abdulkarim Husseinzada in Naghda, won the majority of votes. Naghada and Urumiya are home to Kurds and Azeri Turks. The success of the Kurdish candidates in the elections angered some Azeri candidates who claimed the Kurds won through fraud.
Regarding the results of the elections, Raza Qulipour, a sociology student at Naghda University, says, “Kurds are always trying to ‘Kurdify’ the city. Many Kurds from other cities around Naghada came into the city and voted for Kurdish candidates. In this way, they are trying to impose a Kurdish identity on the city.” But KDPI’s Jahangiri argues that the fraud was perpetrated by Iranian authorities.