The U.S and Russia’s Kurdish Policies: Iran’s National Security and Interests

Document Type : Original Article


PhD Graduate of International Relations, Allameh Tabataba'i University, Tehran, Iran


Since the 1990s and especially after the occupation of Iraq in 2003, Iraqi Kurdistan was highly considered by the U.S. Although during the Cold War, Iraqi Kurds saw the Soviet Union as ally, but since 2007, Russia has considered the Iraqi Kurdistan as a priority. With the onset of the crisis in Syria, the Syrian Kurds gradually attracted the attention of the U.S and Russia. The implications of the U.S and Russia’s attention to Iraqi and Syrian Kurds on Iran’s security and interests is so essential and deserves accurate investigation. This article by using the comparative and also analytical- descriptive methods argues that the U.S and Russia are intended to extend their influence and to undermine their governmental and the inter-government competitors. This policy, in some cases constitutes interests and security of Iran and in other cases it did not.
This article utilizes the historical explanatory method to explain the evolution of the U.S and Russian Kurdish policy. Then, by using comparative and analytical-descriptive methods, compares the U.S and Russian policy towards Kurds issue, and their implications on Iran’s interests and security.
Research findings
Iran cannot be indifferent toward Russian and the U.S policy toward Kurds because of its Kurd population and also its considerable regional influence in the Middle East. The two great power’s policy are in some cases compatible with Iran’s national interests and in some cases are. By understanding the policies of the two countries it will be possible to minimize the negative effects of their policies.
Middle East’s Kurds are Iranian and belong to the territory of Iranian civilization. So, unlike Turkey, Iraq and Syria, the systematic opposition of central government with the Kurdish people has never been the case in Iran. Lack of historical confrontation with the Kurds is an important advantage for Iran to have constructive relations with the Kurds in Iraq and Syria and to minimize the negative impacts of cross-regional government’s Kurdish policies on herself. The U.S and Russia as two major international powers decided to have relations with Iraq and Syria and Iran should seek such relationships too. This assumption that as these countries are the U.S allies, they are no longer reliable and we cannot work with them are a mistake and a "self-limiting" choice. Due to the cultural and civilization similarities of Iraqi and Syrian Kurds with Iran, lack of any historical opposition between Iran and Kurds, or Iran’s denial of their identity, the Islamic Republic of Iran has the highest capacity and areas for interaction and cooperation with the Iraqi and Syrian Kurds.