1979 Iranian Constitutional Convention election

1979 Iranian Constitutional Convention election
Flag of Iran (1964–1980).svg
← 1967 3–4 August 1979[1]

All 73 seats to the Assembly of Experts for Constitution
Registered 20,857,391[2]
Turnout 51.71%
  First party Second party Third party
  Mohammad Beheshti portrait.jpg Mehdi Bazargan 1979 (cropped).jpg Mohammad Kazem Shariatmadari.jpg
Leader Mohammad Beheshti Mehdi Bazargan Mohammad Kazem Shariatmadari
Party Islamic Republican Party Freedom Movement of Iran Muslim People's Republic Party
Leader's seat Tehran Did not stand Did not stand
Seats won 55≈66 3≈8 3≈7

  Fourth party Fifth party Sixth party
  Rahman ghasemlu.jpg Masoud Rajavi 1970's.jpg Kianouri1981.jpeg
Leader Abdul Rahman Ghassemlou[a] Massoud Rajavi Noureddin Kianouri
Party Democratic Party of Iranian Kurdistan People's Mujahedin of Iran Tudeh Party of Iran
Leader's seat West Azerbaijan Tehran (defeated) Tehran (defeated)
Seats won 1 0 0

Constitutional Convention elections were held in Iran on 3 and 4 August 1979. The result was a victory for the Islamic Republican Party.[3] 10,784,932 voted in the elections, marking 51.71% turnout.[2] Of all members elected, 68% were clerics.[4]

The new constitution drawn up by the body was approved by the voters in a referendum in December.[2]


During the elections, Islamic Republican Party had the upper hand when many clerical organizations and friday prayer imams endorsed IRP candidates and the National Television gave them extra time. Their campaign literature featured large pictures of Ayatollah Khomeini, who urged the voters to elect candidates with "Islamic qualifications", on the grounds that only such candidates are able to draft a genuine Islamic constitution.[5]

Different leftist groups fielded candidates for the elections, including the Tudeh Party of Iran, the Organization of Iranian People's Fedai Guerrillas, the Organization of Struggle for the Emancipation of the Working Class and the Socialist Workers' Party of Iran. Among the nominees of the latter was the only soldier to run in the elections and two people in Khuzestan Province who campaigned while being jailed.[6]

People's Mujahedin of Iran ran 26 candidates under its banner, including Massoud Rajavi in Tehran, Mousa Khiabani, Ahmad Hanifnejad and two others in Azerbaijan, eleven in central provinces, six in the northern provinces of Caspian and four in Khorasan.[7]


Several parties including National Front and National Democratic Front boycotted the elections in protest to the new press law, the result of which was to close many newspapers.[8] They also protested the election method, in which the voters should write names of the candidates on the ballot slips. They regarded it questionable, considering the high rate of illiteracy at the time.[9]


The elections were held nationwide, except for two constituencies in Kurdistan Province, where an insurgency was underway. The voting age was reduced to 16 before the elections to make more citizens eligible to vote.[1]



Abrahamian (1989)

According to Ervand Abrahamian, most of the winners were pro-Islamic Republican Party (IRP) candidates including 55 clerics (15 ranking ayatollah and 40 with the title of hujjat al-Islam) and 11 laymen. Others were four reserved seats for the representatives of the official religious minorities (Armenians, Assyrians, Jews and Zoroastrians), three Azerbaijani candidates endorsed by the Muslim People's Republican Party, one Democratic Party of Iranian Kurdistan member barred from taking his seat, three affiliated with the Freedom Movement of Iran (including one member and two sympathetics), plus Mahmoud Taleghani and Ali Golzadeh Ghafouri, who was close to him.[5]

Nohlen et al (2001)
Adib-Moghaddam (2014)


# Candidate Votes[10]
↓ Elected Members ↓
1 Mahmoud Taleghani 2,016,801
2 Abolhassan Banisadr 1,763,126
3 Hossein-Ali Montazeri 1,672,980
4 Ali Golzadeh Ghafouri 1,560,970
5 Mohammad Beheshti 1,547,550
6 Ezzatollah Sahabi 1,449,713
7 Abdul-Karim Mousavi Ardebili 1,389,846
8 Abbas Sheibani 1,387,813
9 Monireh Gorji 1,313,731
10 Ali-Mohammad Arab 1,305,136
↓ Defeated Candidates ↓
11 Ahmad Sayyed Javadi 298,360
12 Massoud Rajavi 297,707
13 Fakhreddin Hejazi 189,016
14 Abdolkarim Lahiji 179,798
15 Habibollah Peyman 164,644
16 Mohammad Mofatteh 153,575
17 Azam Taleghani 132,430
18 Sadegh Khalkhali 122,217

Some of the defeated leftist candidates include:

Candidate Votes Affiliation
Roghayeh Daneshgari 115,334 Fadayee
Mostafa Madani 100,894 Fadayee
Heshmat Raisi 90,641 Fadayee
Mehdi Hajghazi 56,085 Fadayee
Hossein Aladpoush 49,979 Peykar
Ehsan Tabari 47,225 Tudeh
Noureddin Kianouri 32,627 Tudeh
Mohammad-Ali Amouyi 25,792 Tudeh
Maryam Farmanfarmaian 25,435 Tudeh
Babak Zahraei 16,446 Socialist Workers


  1. ^ a b Credentials of Ghassemlou were rejected.[2]
  1. ^ a b Zabir, Sepehr (2012). Iran Since the Revolution (RLE Iran D). Taylor & Francis. pp. 34–35. ISBN 1136833005.
  2. ^ a b c d "The 1979 Assembly of Experts for the Drafting of the Constitution Election", The Iran Social Science Data Portal, Princeton University, archived from the original on 2015-09-24, retrieved 10 August 2015
  3. ^ a b Nohlen, Dieter; Grotz, Florian; Hartmann, Christof (2001). "Iran". Elections in Asia: A Data Handbook. I. Oxford University Press. p. 74. ISBN 0-19-924958-X.
  4. ^ a b Arshin Adib-Moghaddam (2014). A Critical Introduction to Khomeini. Cambridge University Press. p. 112. ISBN 978-1-107-72906-3.
  5. ^ a b Ervand Abrahamian (1989), "The Islamic Republic", Radical Islam: the Iranian Mojahedin, Society and culture in the modern Middle East, 3, I.B.Tauris, pp. 54–55, ISBN 9781850430773
  6. ^ Robert Jackson Alexander (1991), "Socialist Workers' Party — HKS", International Trotskyism, 1929-1985: A Documented Analysis of the Movement, Duke University Press, ISBN 082231066X
  7. ^ Ervand Abrahamian (1989), "To The Masses", Radical Islam: the Iranian Mojahedin, Society and culture in the modern Middle East, 3, I.B.Tauris, p. 193, ISBN 9781850430773
  8. ^ Axworthy, Michael (2016), Revolutionary Iran: A History of the Islamic Republic, Oxford University Press, p. 159, ISBN 9780190468965
  9. ^ a b Menashri, Daṿid (1990), Iran: a decade of war and revolution, Holmes & Meier, p. 86, ISBN 9780841909496
  10. ^ Ervand Abrahamian (1989), "To The Masses", Radical Islam: the Iranian Mojahedin, Society and culture in the modern Middle East, 3, I.B.Tauris, p. 195, Table 6, ISBN 9781850430773
  11. ^ Mirsepassi, Ali (2004), The Tragedy of the Iranian Left, RoutledgeCurzon, Table 10.3 Selected leftist candidates in the Tehran elections for the Assembly of Experts

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