Saturday, 11 February, marks the anniversary of the anti-monarchy revolution in Iran in 1979. What millions of Iranians had hoped would be the beginning of a democratic change and progress in their country soon became a nightmare as the mullahs stole the popular democratic revolution by usurping power and imposing a religious dictatorship on the people.

Ever since, the people of Iran led by the courageous women have expressed their opposition to and challenged the religious dictatorship with protests and brave acts of defiance, paying the highest price to realise their democratic aspirations.

Out of this popular dissent grew an organised resistance for a free and democratic Iran embodied in and led by the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) and its president-elect, Mrs Maryam Rajavi.

Today's nationwide protests against the regime with popular chants of "Down with dictator" and "Down with the oppressor, be it the Shah or the Supreme Leader" are the continuation of that popular dissent and the culmination of sacrifices made by the people of Iran and their popular resistance movement to end the religious dictatorship for a free, democratic and secular republic.

The ongoing popular uprising in face of regime's violent repression and deadly crackdown shows that the people of Iran are determined to take back their country and realise the democratic revolution the mullahs stole 44 years ago.

The international community, Western democracies in particular, must stand with the Iranian people and their organised resistance movement as they write a new chapter of Iran's history.

The UK, her allies and international partners can and ought to do this by recognising the Iranian people's right to determine their own future and their right to self-defence in face of the regime's violent repression.

Moreover, the UK and the international community should recognise that the Iranian people have a viable democratic alternative to end the religious dictatorship in Iran represented by the NCRI and NCRI president-elect Mrs Maryam Rajavi's 10-point democratic platform for future Iran.

On the anniversary of last revolution in Iran, the UK government should publicly and officially support this Iranian solution for a free, democratic and secular Iran as, today, the democratic aspirations of the Iranian people converge with the security and economic interests of the UK.

Bob Blackman MP

Co-President of the the International Committee of Parliamentarians for a Democratic Iran (ICPDI)

Prominent member of the British Committee for Iran Freedom

11 February 2023