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© Wikamedia

Mahabad is the capital city of Mahabad County, West Azerbaijan Province in Northwestern Iran. Population estimates of Mahabad are around 200,000, the majority of whom are Kurdish. The Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization (UNPO) recognizes Mahabad as the unofficial capital of Kurdish Region of Iran, which is different than the seat of Iran’s Kordestan Province, which is located in Sanandaj.[1]

The Mahabad region has played a central role in Kurdish history for over 1000 years.[2] Many of the Iranian Kurds who currently inhabit the area are descendents of the Murki tribe, who claim to speak the most ancient and unadulterated form of Kurdish language.[3]

In more recent history, Mahabad was home to the first Kurdish nationalist movement. Several Iraqi Kurds helped found the Republic of Mahabad in 1941, and were supported, in part, by the Soviets.[4]

The Republic was short-lived, however, and as the Soviets pulled out of Iran in 1946, the Republic of Mahabad was absorbed by the new Iranian government, and its leaders were executed.[5]

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    2A Short History of the Kurds and Kurdistan, in two volumes, Dar al-Islami Publishers, Baghdad, 1931. (in Kurdish: Tarîxî Kurd û Kurdistan, Kurmancî: Dîroka Kurd û Kurdistanê ) Vol.I: From the Antiquity to the Present., Vol.II: History of the Kurdish States and Principalities.
    3To Mesopotamia and Kurdistan in Disguise
    4Iraq Since 1958: From Revolution to Dictatorship
    5Iraq Since 1958: From Revolution to Dictatorship