The Kurdish Democratic Party of Iran Reappears after a 20-Year Hiatus: Is it a Real or an Imagined Threat to the Islamic Republic?

When Mustafa Hijri, the secretary-general of the Kurdistan Democratic Party of Iran (Hezbî Dêmokiratî Kurdistanî Êran, also known as Partî Dêmokiratî Kurdistanî Êran ), invited young Iranian Kurds to join his party in a speech delivered on March 2016, several Kurdish analysts and activists interpreted his message as an attempt to restart the xebati chekdari, which authorized the use of arms against the government of the Islamic Republic. Others were less convinced. As the Kurdish Democratic Party of Iran (KDPI) has taken up arms in the provinces of Iranian Kurdistan and Iranian Azerbaijan, clashing with government forces, tensions [between who and who?] increased, with uncertain consequences. What are the fundamental effects of such disturbances on the government of the Islamic Republic, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), and Iran’s neighbors, as well as Iranian Kurds? Will there be additional clashes, or can Tehran find a way to accommodate with one of its most critical minority populations? What would it take for the Islamic Republic to confront legitimate internal challenges raised by Iranian Kurds?