Flag of Iran: History, Meaning and Symbolism

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The national flag is often an important symbol of Iranian politics and culture. The Iranian flag is distinctive in many ways, chief among them the Allāhu Akbar (God is great) feature at its center, which is unlike any other Islamic symbol (such as the crescent and star), which was invented from scratch to Together it will represent a revolutionary idea: an Islamic republic. The three colors of the Iranian flag — white, green and red — are entrenched today, but there is little information about how the sun and lion were replaced. So, what's the story behind the Iranian flag? This article explores the history, meaning, symbolism, and more of the Iranian flag.

Description of Iran Flag

History and Symbolism of the Flag of Iran 1
The green color on the Iranian flag represents joy, unity, nature and progress.

© iStock.com/Derek Brumby

The national flag of Iran is a tricolor flag, which is evenly distributed in green, white and red, with a height-to-length ratio of 1:2. In the center of the white band is the country's national emblem, which is red, stylized as a tulip, a martyr's flower, and contains the word "Allah". The flag also contains the Arabic greeting Allāhu Akbar, or Takbir. In the inner corners of the red and green stripes, it is written 11 times in Kufic script.

colors of iranian flag

The pre-revolutionary and official Iranian flags, flown occasionally in protest, have green, white and red horizontal stripes. The colors of the flag are deeply symbolic, dating back to the mid-18th century, and represent several characteristics of the Iranian people.

Islam is symbolized by green — considered the Prophet Muhammad's personal favorite color — and it appears on the flags of many Muslim countries, including Saudi Arabia, Algeria and Pakistan. The green color on the flag represents joy, unity, nature and progress. According to British journalist Tim Marshall, red symbolizes martyrdom, bravery, fire and love, while white represents freedom.

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The Iranian tricolor was officially established in the 1906 constitution, although earlier versions of the flag used other colors.

What does the flag of Iran mean?

One of Iran's most cherished symbols, the lion and sun, or Shir o Khorshid, was replaced by a tulip in the middle of the current flag, a recent revision.

The origin of the lion and sun symbol dates back to 12th century Persia, where it became known as a representation of the ancient Leo sun sign, which undoubtedly represented power and royalty. Over the ensuing centuries, the lion and sun appeared on the flag in various arrangements – sometimes as representations of social foundations, state and religious practices, or as symbols of monarchy.

But in 1979, the Iranian revolution overthrew Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, ending the monarchy. To create a flag that would cut ties with the Shah and ensure a cultural history, the elected rulers of the Islamic Republic asked architect Hamid Nadimi to get the work done.

In 1980, Nadimi found an alternative to the lion and the sun: the red tulip, which has long been important in Shia Islam and symbolizes Hussein ibn Ali Hussein, grandson of Muhammad Cause (Husayn Ibn Ali al-Hussein). martyr. Four half-moon petals and a stem or sword, which together form the word Allah and represent the five pillars of Islam, make up this tulip.

Nadimi adorns the flag's green and red stripes with a stylized Arabic inscription that reads Allahu Akbar (God is great).

Iran Flag History

The current Iranian flag was established on July 29, 1980, following the Iranian Revolution of 1979.

© iStock.com/Natanael Ginting

Flags and flags have a long history in Iran as important national emblems, both in times of war and peace. The tricolor of white, green and red layered on top of the sun and lion symbols remained unchanged until the revolution of 1979, with only minor changes.

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The current flag was established on July 29, 1980, following the 1979 Iranian Revolution. The lion is associated with Ali, the first imam of Shia Islam, but the new Iranian government sees the sun and lion as representatives of Western monarchy and wants them to change. Iranian exiles who oppose the Iranian government often fly alternative flags, such as the tricolor Pahlavi flag with a lion and sun in the middle, or the tricolor without the added symbol. Some political groups, jihadist groups and Iranian refugee communities fly lion and sun flags.

iranian flag over the years

Iranian history sees flags and banners as representations of war and peace; a golden eagle can even be seen on one of the earliest flags. The following motifs were used from the 16th to the 18th centuries: a yellow circle on a green field, a golden sun and lamb on a green field, and a golden lion and sun in the middle of a green field.

The original design of the current national flag adopted the 1906 design, with the lion and sun symbols in the middle of the white, green and red bands. In 1933 and 1964, the flag was revised. The flag remained unchanged until the current flag was adopted in 1980.

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iran flag
The Iranian flag is a tricolor flag consisting of three evenly spaced stripes of green, white, and red. In the center of the white band is the country's national emblem, which is red and looks like a tulip.

© iStock.com/Royal Graphics


about the author

Victor Victor


For six years, I have been a professional writer and editor of books, blogs and websites, with a particular focus on animals, technology and finance. When I'm not working, I enjoy playing video games with my friends.

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