Former Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said that the low voter turnout in the recent presidential elections is a form of voting "no" in a referendum over the regime of the Islamic Republic. Ahmadinejad, who had been a front runner in the presidential race and was ultimately disqualified from running, made these remarks in an interview which was posted on Independentpersian.com on June 20, 2021. He stated that not every election should be considered a referendum over the type of regime in Iran, but Iranian officials had urged the public to turn out and vote in the recent elections, as a "renewal of the pact with the Islamic Republic." Ahmadinejad added that close to 100% of all Iranians voted in the first referendum on the type of regime in Iran, in 1979, and 98.2% of them voted "yes." In comparison, only 48% of Iranians voted in the recent presidential elections, and it is less than 40% without all the invalid votes. Ahmadinejad served as President of Iran from 2005 to 2013. On May 29, 2021, after his candidacy was rejected, an interview, in which he criticized the policies of the Iranian regime, was posted on his official YouTube channel. For more information see MEMRI TV clip no. 8888.
Interviewer: "In a tweet, you mentioned the [April 1, 1979] referendum over the Islamic Republic. You compared it to the elections from two days ago. You said that the decline in the turnout from 98% [in 1979] to 48% [in 2021] requires us to conduct another referendum over the type of regime in the Islamic Republic. Do you share the opinion that low voter turnout constituted a referendum and a 'no' vote for the regime of the Islamic Republic?"
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad: "Naturally, I do not expect every election to turn into a referendum, but this is what the relevant people declared. Under this title, they asked the public to participate in the elections, saying that every vote is a vote for the Islamic Republic, and a renewal of the pact with the Islamic Republic. They themselves have turned it into a referendum. Almost 100% of the public participated in the first referendum, and 98.2% voted 'yes.' Now, it is something like 48%, and if we take out the invalid votes, like some do, maybe it comes out to less than 40%."