1953 Iranian parliamentary dissolution referendum

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Iranian 1953 referendum
Dissolution or Continuation of the 17th National Consultative Assembly
Date3 and 10 August 1953
Votes %
Yes 2,043,389 99.94%
No 1,207 0.06%
Valid votes 2,044,596 100.00%
Invalid or blank votes 4 0.00%
Total votes 2,044,600 100.00%

A referendum on the dissolution of Parliament, the first referendum ever held in Iran, was held in August 1953. The dissolution was approved by more than 99% of voters.

Following the referendum, there were talks about another referendum to abolish the Pahlavi dynasty and make Iran a republic, however the government was overthrown by a coup d'état shortly after.[1][2]


  • 12 July: PM Mohammad Mosaddegh openly announced his intention to hold the referendum,[3] asking people to either choose between his government or the 17th Parliament.[4]
  • 14 July: The decision to held the referendum was approved by the cabinet.[3]
  • 3 August: Referendum held in Tehran.[4]
  • 10 August: Referendum held in other cities.[4]
  • 13 August: The official results of the polls were declared by the interior ministry.[3]
  • 16 August: Mosaddegh officially announced the dissolution of the parliament.[5]
  • 19 August: The government was overthrown in a coup d'état.[3]


Position Organization Ref
Iran Party [2]
Iranian People Party [2]
Tudeh Party [2]
Pan-Iranist Party [2]
Nation Party [2]
Third Force [6]
Toilers Party [2]
Muslim Warriors [2]


The balloting was not secret and there were two separate voting booths, i.e. the opponents of Mossadegh had to cast their vote in a separate tent.[7][1] Critics pointed that the referendum had ignored the democratic demand for secret ballots.[8]


Choice Votes %
For 2,043,389 99.94
Against 1,207 0.06
Invalid/blank votes 4
Total 2,044,600 100
Source: Direct Demoracy

By city[edit]

City Yes No
Tehran[9] 101,396 67
Tabriz[10] 41,502 3
Isfahan[10] 43,505 11
Ahvaz[10] 22,771 2
Mashhad[10] 26,547 9




  •  United States: On 5 August 1953, the U.S. President Dwight Eisenhower, speaking to a gathering of state governors in Seattle, criticized Mosaddegh for the decision and specified, that it had been supported by the communist party. A editorial published by The New York Times on 4 August characterized the exercise as "More fantastic and farcical than any ever held under Hitler or Stalin", and an effort by Mosaddegh "to make himself unchallenged dictator of the country".[11]


  1. ^ a b Elton L. Daniel (2012). The History of Iran. ABC-CLIO. p. 154. ISBN 978-0313375095.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h Siavush Randjbar-Daemi (2017). ""Down with the Monarchy": Iran's Republican Moment of August 1953". Iranian Studies. 50 (2): 293–313. doi:10.1080/00210862.2016.1229120. hdl:10023/13868.
  3. ^ a b c d Rahnema, Ali (2014), Behind the 1953 Coup in Iran: Thugs, Turncoats, Soldiers, and Spooks, Cambridge University Press, p. 287, ISBN 978-1107076068
  4. ^ a b c d e Ebrahimi, Mansoureh (2016). "Dr. Mosaddeq's pre-emptive Measures". The British Role in Iranian Domestic Politics (1951-1953). SpringerBriefs in Environment, Security, Development and Peace. 5. Springer. p. 95–97. ISBN 9783319310985.
  5. ^ Bayandor, Darioush (2010). Iran and the CIA: The Fall of Mosaddeq Revisited. Palgrave Macmillan. p. 215. ISBN 978-0-230-57927-9.
  6. ^ Katouzian, Homa (2013). Iran: Politics, History and Literature. Routledge. p. 84. ISBN 9780415636896.
  7. ^ Majd, Mohammad Gholi (2000), Resistance to the Shah: Landowners and Ulama in Iran, University Press of Florida, pp. 260–261, ISBN 978-0813017310
  8. ^ Milani, Abbas (2008). Eminent Persians: The Men and Women who Made Modern Iran, 1941-1979. 1. Syracuse, N.Y.: Syracuse University Press. p. 243. ISBN 978-0815609070.
  9. ^ Abrahamian, Ervand (1982). Iran Between Two Revolutions. Princeton University Press. p. 274. ISBN 978-0-691-10134-7.
  10. ^ a b c d Mervyn Roberts (2012). "Analysis of Radio Propaganda in the 1953 Iran Coup". Iranian Studies. 45 (6): 759–777. doi:10.1080/00210862.2012.726848.
  11. ^ Bayandor, Darioush (2010). Iran and the CIA: The Fall of Mosaddeq Revisited. Palgrave Macmillan. p. 89. ISBN 978-0-230-57927-9.