Mahabad (Persian: مهاباد, Kurdish: مههاباد, Mehabad); (Old name: سابلاخ: Sablakh, which may be of Mongolian origin) is a city in Iran. It is in the north-west of the country. The city is south of Lake Urmia in a narrow valley 1,300 metres above sea level. It is in West Azarbaijan Province. It has about 162.434 people who live in the city. Mahabad is connected by road with Tabriz 300 km north, Urmia 150 km north and Irbil in Iraq. Mahabad has also a branch of Islamic Azad University.
The city is one center and symbol of the Kurdish nationalism. The reason is because 1945 it was the capital of the new founded people's Republic of Mahabad. The republic was conquered by Iranian forces in 16 December 1946. The president was Qazi Muhammad. The majority of the population is Kurdish. During the revolution in Iran, at 3 September 1979 the city was bombed and occupied by Iranian forces. After the death of Shivan Qaderi, a student and opposition activist in July 9 2005, the Kurdish population protested against the Iranian government.