Iranian Constitutional Convention election, 1979

Iranian Constitutional Convention election, 1979

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
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 5566 3≈8 3≈7

  Fourth party Fifth party Sixth party
Leader Abdul Rahman Ghassemlou[lower-alpha 1] Masoud 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)
Party Seats %
Islamic Republican Party5575.3
Freedom Movement68.2
Muslim People's Republican Party45.5
Minority reserved seats34.1
Democratic Party of Iranian Kurdistan1[lower-alpha 1]1.4
Adib-Moghaddam (2014)
List Seats
Grand Coalition58
Freedom Movement8
Muslim People's Republican Party7


# Candidate Votes[10]
Elected Members
1Mahmoud Taleghani2,016,801
2Abolhassan Banisadr1,763,126
3Hossein-Ali Montazeri1,672,980
4Ali Golzadeh Ghafouri1,560,970
5Mohammad Beheshti1,547,550
6Ezzatollah Sahabi1,449,713
7Abdul-Karim Mousavi Ardebili1,389,846
8Abbas Sheibani1,387,813
9Monireh Gorji1,313,731
10Ali-Mohammad Arab1,305,136
Defeated Candidates
11Ahmad Sayyed Javadi298,360
12Massoud Rajavi297,707
13Fakhreddin Hejazi189,016
14Abdolkarim Lahiji179,798
15Habibollah Peyman164,644
16Mohammad Mofatteh153,575
17Azam Taleghani132,430
18Sadegh Khalkhali122,217

Some of the defeated leftist candidates include:

Candidate Votes Affiliation
Roghayeh Daneshgari115,334Fadayee
Mostafa Madani100,894Fadayee
Heshmat Raisi90,641Fadayee
Mehdi Hajghazi56,085Fadayee
Hossein Aladpoush49,979Peykar
Ehsan Tabari47,225Tudeh
Noureddin Kianouri32,627Tudeh
Mohammad-Ali Amouyi25,792Tudeh
Maryam Farmanfarmaian25,435Tudeh
Babak Zahraei16,446Socialist Workers


  1. 1 2 Credentials of Ghassemlou were rejected.[2]
  1. 1 2 Zabir, Sepehr (2012). Iran Since the Revolution (RLE Iran D). Taylor & Francis. pp. 34–35. ISBN 1136833005.
  2. 1 2 3 4 "The 1979 Assembly of Experts for the Drafting of the Constitution Election", The Iran Social Science Data Portal, Princeton University, retrieved 10 August 2015
  3. 1 2 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. 1 2 Arshin Adib-Moghaddam (2014). A Critical Introduction to Khomeini. Cambridge University Press. p. 112. ISBN 978-1-107-72906-3.
  5. 1 2 Ervand Abrahamian (1989), "The Islamic Republic", Radical Islam: the Iranian Mojahedin, Society and culture in the modern Middle East, 3, I.B.Tauris, p. 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. 1 2 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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