Iranian Islamic Republic referendum, March 1979

Islamic Republic referendum
In the Name of the Almighty [God]
Provisional Government of Islamic Revolution
The Interior Ministry
Referendum Election Ballot
Age-old [monarchial] regime change to Islamic republic, the constitution of which will be approved by the nation — Yes or No?[1]
The two-parts ballot of referendum, with the green paper indicating "Yes" and red paper indicating "No"[1]
Location Iran
Date 30—31 March 1979[2]
Votes %
Yes 20,147,855 99.31%
No 140,996 0.69%
Total votes 20,288,851 100.00%
Registered voters/turnout ~22,000,000[2] 89[3]%
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A referendum on creating an Islamic Republic was held in Iran on 30 and 31 March 1979.

Although some groups objected to the wording and choice and boycotted the referendum,[4] it was approved by 98.2% of eligible citizens, according to official results.[3]

In order to include the Iranian youth who participated in the revolution, the voting age was lowered from 18 to 16.[3]

Following this victory, the 1906 constitution was declared invalid and a new constitution for an Islamic state was created and ratified by another referendum in December 1979.

Party policies

Position Organizations Ref
Islamic Republican Party[4]
National Front[4][5]
Freedom Movement [4][5]
Tudeh Party [4][5]
People's Mojahedin Organization [4]
Muslim People's Republic Party [4]
Toilers Party [6]
National Democratic Front[4]
Organization of People's Fedai Guerrillas[7]
People's Fedai Guerrillas[8]
Democratic Party of Iranian Kurdistan[9]
Komala Party of Iranian Kurdistan[9]

Alternative wordings proposed

What the nation wants is an Islamic Republic, not one word more and not one word less. Not just a Republic, not a democratic Republic, not a democratic Islamic Republic. Do not use the word 'democratic' to describe it. This the Western style.
 Ruhollah Khomeini's response to suggested names for the next regime[10]

When the authorities were preparing to prescribe a name for future political system, the parties called for a referendum open to give third choices, other than monarchy and Islamic Republic. Some of the names suggested were:


Choice Votes %
Valid Votes20,288,851100
Source: [2]


  1. 1 2 Hovsepian-Bearce, Yvette (2015). The Political Ideology of Ayatollah Khamenei: Out of the Mouth of the Supreme Leader of Iran. Routledge. p. 13. ISBN 1317605829.
  2. 1 2 3 Nohlen, Dieter; Grotz, Florian; Hartmann, Christof (2001). "Iran". Elections in Asia: A Data Handbook. I. Oxford University Press. p. 68. ISBN 0-19-924958-X.
  3. 1 2 3 Hiro, Dilip (2013). Holy Wars (Routledge Revivals): The Rise of Islamic Fundamentalism. Routledge. p. 169. ISBN 1135048312.
  4. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Paydar, Parvin (1995). Women and the Political Process in Twentieth-Century Iran. Cambridge University Press. p. 226. ISBN 978-0-521-59572-8.
  5. 1 2 3 4 5 6 Baktiari, Bahman (1996). Parliamentary Politics in Revolutionary Iran: The Institutionalization of Factional Politics. University Press of Florida. p. 55. ISBN 978-0-8130-1461-6.
  6. Haddad Adel, Gholamali; Elmi, Mohammad Jafar; Taromi-Rad, Hassan. Political Parties: Selected Entries from Encyclopaedia of the World of Islam. EWI Press. pp. 209–215. ISBN 9781908433022.
  7. Hiro, Dilip (2013). Iran Under the Ayatollahs (Routledge Revivals). Routledge. p. 128. ISBN 1135043817.
  8. Maziar, Behrooz (2000). Rebels With A Cause: The Failure of the Left in Iran. I.B.Tauris. p. 109. ISBN 1860646301.
  9. 1 2 Romano, David (2006). The Kurdish Nationalist Movement: Opportunity, Mobilization and Identity. Cambridge Middle East studies, 22. Cambridge University Press. p. 236. ISBN 978-0-521-85041-4. OCLC 61425259.
  10. Ganji, Manouchehr (2002). Defying the Iranian Revolution: From a Minister to the Shah to a Leader of Resistance. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 77. ISBN 0275971872.
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