Is the US Supporting Kurdish Insurgents Against Iran?

An uptick in attacks coincided with the U.S. withdrawal from the nuclear deal and a conspicuous meeting.

Image Credit: SAFIN HAMED/AFP/Getty Images

Xander Snyder |August 27, 2018

Iran’s Kurds don’t usually make the headlines like Kurds in Turkey, Syria and Iraq do. Iraqi Kurds helped beat back the Islamic State and held a failed independence referendum last year. Syrian Kurds still control much of northern Syria and have become a point of serious contention between Turkey and the U.S., which supports them against the Assad regime. Turkey’s military invaded northern Syria to push Kurdish militant groups away from the Turkish border. Iranian Kurds have been quiet by comparison. To be sure, they’ve waged a low-level insurgency off and on with the Iranian regime for decades, but it’s held steady at a low simmer for some time. This summer, however, something seems to have changed.

Also this summer, the U.S. unilaterally withdrew from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, better known as the Iran nuclear deal. This may not be a coincidence. Washington this month reapplied the first of two batches of sanctions on the Iranian regime, and it makes sense t

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