The city of Mariwan is located next to placid lakes and green mountains in western Iran.
In early July, members of the Democratic Party of Iranian Kurdistan, a Kurdish group, came down from the mountains into the town. A commander from the group emerged and spoke to hundreds of residents in a video the Kurds put online. “The Kurdish people are ready to stand up against the Islamist regime in Iran,” a spokesman tweeted.
“It means that the presence of the Peshmerga [Kurdish fighters] in Iranian Kurdistan has increased recently and they appear among the people more frequently,” a statement from PDKI leader Mustafa Hijri said.
In recent weeks, the PDKI has begun to deploy its forces more publicly in the Kurdistan region of eastern Iran. This area is called Rojhelat in Kurdish. The group now says its fighters are outside a half-dozen cities, including Mariwan, Baneh and Sanandaj.
The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) has deployed tanks to contend with the insurgency. But the PDKI isn’t backing down; they claim to have killed IRGC members in recent operations and clashes. On July 3 the Zagros Eagles, a group associated with the PDKI, assaulted an outpost near Piranshahr, according to a statement posted online.
The Kurdish group has also supported the widespread protests that have been rocking Tehran and other provinces in recent months.