PUK offering Iraqi citizenship to Iranian KurdsMay 4, 2013 at 9:59 am | Posted in Turkmens | Leave a comment
Tags: Kurds appointed in Iraqi Embassies issue Iraqi Passports to non-Iraqis, PUK offering Iraqi citizenship to Iranian Kurds
Ruling Party Denies Rumors of Offering Iraqi Citizenship to Iranian Kurds
By Farman Chomani
RANIYA, Kurdistan Region – Kurdish-Iranian migrants arriving in regions administered by the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan in the Kurdistan Region are being granted Iraqi citizenship in return for promises to vote for the PUK, according to various allegations that are denied by the party.
Iranian Kurds have been arriving in groups to the Pishdar region of Sulaimani province, which is a PUK stronghold, to obtain Iraqi citizenship, claimed Muhammed Sinamoki, head of the opposition Kurdistan Islamic Group (KIG).
“We know that Iranian nationals are registering here to obtain Iraqi citizenship. We have been investigating the issue and have talked to some people, but they do not want to take the risk and give us documents,” Sinamoki said.
“Some Iranian nationals from eastern (Iranian) Kurdistan, who work at the factories, have been offered registration for citizenship by the PUK in return for their votes,” he claimed.
The PUK, the smaller partner of the Kurdistan Democratic Party in the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) which administers Iraq’s autonomous northern Kurdistan Region, denies the allegations.
“It is not true. We are not involved in any such process,” said Omar Qadir, deputy head of the PUK office in Sulaimani’s Raniya district.
Elections for the regional parliament and presidency have been announced for September, though still not officially finalized.
The PUK, which in the 2009 elections lost votes to the breakaway Change Movement (Gorran), is struggling to cope since its leader Jalal Talabani suffered a serious stroke in December, and cannot afford to lose any more support.
There are rumors circulating in Iran’s Kurdish regions that anyone with relatives in Iraqi Kurdistan can apply for Iraqi citizenship, according to a source in the Kurdish Iranian city of Piranshahr.
Iraq’s Kurdistan Region, which remains a calm haven of economic growth in turbulent Iraq, has become increasingly attractive to Iranian Kurds, who like the rest of the Iranian population are squeezed by international sanctions imposed against Tehran’s authoritarian Islamic regime.
According to a news report, Iranian authorities arrested 178 people in the Kurdish Sardasht area as they were trying to cross the border into Iraqi Kurdistan on April 28.
Raniya Mayor Hiwa Qarani denied they were arriving to register for citizenship.
“We only register those who are originally from here,” he said. “However, they have to prove that they are from (Iraqi) Kurdistan,” he added.
“Individuals are registered where they have relatives, but this process has been stopped in order to organize the registration process and eliminate any room for mistakes,” he said.
Hassan Sheikh Raza, a local KDP spokesman, said that the party also was aware of the rumors.
“We completely oppose any such thing. The elections have to be conducted clean and fair,” he said, adding that according to his information the registration process had been stopped on April 28.
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