Flag of Iran
The flag of Iran is a symbol of the country’s sovereignty and religion. It was officially adopted on July 29, 1980, under the rule of Mohammad Reza Pahlavi. Yet, the colors of the flag date as far back to the mid-18th century, where they were used to represent Islam. To the Iranians, this flag is a symbol of the unity predominant among the Arab nations, such as Bahrain, Algeria, Djibouti, Iraq, Jordan, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, among others. Moreover, it is a reminder of the 1979 Iranian Revolution in its fight against conflict. As a result, the flag holds deep symbolism to people and evokes a different meaning to the Iranians.
History of the Flag of Iran
Iran is an ancient country that was previously known as Persia until the 20th century. The Persian Empire has an extensive history, being home to one of the most celebrated leaders, Cyrus the Great. The first flag in the country was used between 224 to 651 BCE and consisted of a rectangular leather Flag of Iran with a purple background, a four-pointed star at the center and the design of jewels. This banner was used during the Sasanian Empire.
From 651 to 998 BCE, Islam had already developed in the region. At the time, no specific flag was used. However, in 998, Mahmud of Ghazni introduced his flag, which consisted of a black background with the sun at its center. When the Safavid Dynasty took over, a new flag with a green (represents paradise in Islam) background and a full golden moon was adopted. This banner was known as the flag of Ismail I. The establishment of the Safavid dynasty is considered the beginning of the history of modern-day Iran. A new leader, Tahmsp I took over the Safavid Empire and the flag was changed. The new flag consisted of a green background with an emblem of a sheep and a sun at the center.
In 1576 to 1732, the flag of the Safavid Dynasty after Ismail II consisted of a golden sun with a lion emblem. In 1736, during the Zand dynasty, the golden lion emblem was reinstated into a white field. The Afsharid Dynasty, which existed around the same time, had its flag, that consisted of red, yellow, and white. This banner was in use from 1736 to 1796. The dynasty was established in Iran after its leader Nader Shah, overthrew the last leader of the Safavid dynasty and established himself as King of Iran. After his death, the country was divided again up until 1789, during the reign of the Qajar Dynasty. The first flag that was used by the Qajar dynasty had a plain red background with a yellow circle at the center. Within the ring was a golden lion with a rising faced sun. When Mohammad Khan died in 1797, Fath Ali Shah Qajar took over. The new ruler adopted a flag with a plain white background and the gold lion with the faced sun emblem.
The emblem at the center of the flag was adopted in 1980. It is a unique Persian inspired alphabetic symbol for the name of God combined with a shade sword and four crescents. It is said that the emblem resembles a tulip. Nonetheless, it is a symbol of martyrdom, a reminder of the people who died for Iran as well as of patriotism and self-sacrifice. The meaning behind this emblem contributed to the growth of a legend, which states that red tulips grow from the blood of the martyrs.
The length of the Flag of Iran is twice the width while the horizontal stripes are all equal in size. Moreover, the Kufic inscriptions at the center of the flag are repeated 11 times at the top of the white line and 11 times at the bottom of the white stripe. The construction of the emblem is complex. However, the diameter of the circle of the emblem is ¼ of the hoist.