Thanks to Nuclear Deal, Iranian Migrant Workers Plan To Leave Iraq
The nuclear compromise between Iran and Western powers is a chance to return home and be with our families, say Iranian labourers in northern Iraq.
In early April many Iranians took to the streets of Tehran to celebrate the announcement of a “framework agreement” on Iran’s nuclear programme. But they were not the only Iranians to greet a possible thaw in international relations between Iran and Western powers so enthusiastically. Iranians living in the semi-autonomous northern region of Iraqi Kurdistan were also cheering. Because for these Iranians – usually migrant workers, mostly of Kurdish ethnicity – this might be the chance to return home they’ve been waiting for.
“The ordinary people here treat us well,” Habib Abdullah Torordi, who works as a baker in the Kurdish city of Sulaymaniyah, notes. “But the security forces do not. Mainly because there is no clear law that recognizes our presence here. The [framework] agreement will mean less pressure on Iran and it will lead to an improvement in the economic situation,” he says hopefully. “And when the conditions improve, we will return to our homes and our children. We don’t want to continue living this way,” says the baker, who sends his wages back to his wife and son who live in the Iranian city of Marivan, home to a mostly Kurdish Iranian population and near to the Iraqi border.
Despite a shared Kurdish background, life for Iranian nationals working in the city of Sulaymaniyah in Iraqi Kurdistan, is not always easy. Things have changed a lot since they got here. Their reasons for coming to the semi-autonomous, northern region of Iraqi Kurdistan, which has its own borders, legislature and military, and basically works like a state within a state inside Iraq, were clear.
The Iranian economy was under pressure from international sanctions while, just over the border, in Iraqi Kurdistan, business was booming; at one stage, at least before Iraq’s current security crisis, Iraqi Kurdistan was often optimistically described as “the new Dubai”.