Spring has arrived in Qandil, the majestic mountain range separating Iran from Iraq. But the bucolic calm enveloping this far-flung corner of the Middle East could be shattered at any time. Iranian fighter jets periodically rain bombs on rebels of the Free Life Party of Kurdistan (PJAK) based in Qandil. The group is the latest in a string of Kurdish groups that has been fighting for Kurdish self-rule inside Iran.
Iran’s long-repressed Kurds, including many alleged PJAK members, continue to be jailed and tortured. A growing number have been executed in recent years. But while the Kurds in Turkey, Syria and Iraq make international headlines with their successful campaign against the Islamic State (IS), the plight of their Iranian brethren has gone largely unnoticed.