Skip to main content

Iraqi Kurds throw lifeline to Iranian Kurds as sanctions begin to bite

Iraqi Kurds, who remember the help they received from Iranian Kurds in the past, want to return the favor now that their brethren are suffering under US sanctions.

Dyari Abdulla carried a 20-kilo (44-pound) bag containing rice and sugar on his back on the border between Iran and Iraqi Kurdistan near Halabja. He waited in an orchard until his relatives from a nearby town in Iranian Kurdistan arrived, then he handed over the bag. “My relatives are suffering because of the high prices in Iran," Abdulla told Al-Monitor.

He remembers the harsh living conditions experienced by Iraqi Kurds in the 1990s when thousands of people died due to malnutrition because of international sanctions on Iraq. Like thousands of other young Iraqi Kurds, Abdulla risked his life trekking across the mountainous border illegally and flooding big Iranian cities seeking work so he could send money back to his family to survive. Now he fears for those across the border.

Access the Middle East news and analysis you can trust

Join our community of Middle East readers to experience all of Al-Monitor, including 24/7 news, analyses, memos, reports and newsletters.


Only $100 per year.