Flag of Iran


The Islamic Republic of Iran is one of the cradles of ancient civilization, which has greatly influenced the formation of human history. Some data from the ancient period indicate that it was on the territory of Iran that the world’s first flag was created. The modern version of the flag was adopted in 1980, and designed by artist Hamid Nadimi. But before that it has undergone major changes.

This is what the modern flag of Iran looks like:

Флаг Ирана
Flag of Iran

History of the flag

One of the first designations of the symbol of statehood in Iran was the word derafsh, i.e., flag. This is an Iranian word that refers to a piece of cloth attached to the head of

Dirafshi Kaviyani

In Iranian mythology, Derafshe Kaviyani appears in a rebellion led by a blacksmith named Kav. His task was to fight against oppression at the hands of Shah Zahak. For his unjust rule and the usurpation of his subjects, Satan kissed his shoulder, from which snakes began to crawl out. Hence his nickname, “Zachac with the serpent on his shoulder.” Every day he offered snake sacrifices in the form of the heads of two men, so that he himself would not be eaten.

Zachac sacrificed seventeen of the brothers of Kavah among others to snakes. Gathering the people around him against Zachac, Kav raised above his head the shaft of a spear with a leather apron attached to it. After the destruction of Zahak’s palace, Freidun, the rightful heir to the kings, ascended the throne of Iran. He saw in Kav’s apron a sign of good and ordered a gold star with four rays to be placed on it and decorated with precious stones and ribbons of three colors – red, gold and purple. And the blacksmith’s former apron came to be called “the banner of Kawa” or “Derafshe Kaviyani”, the flag of liberty.

Each subsequent shah who ascended the throne finished the flag with one more jewel so that at night it sparkled even brighter in the light of the moon.

The four-bearded star gave Faridun’s banner another name – “Akhtari Kaviyan” or Kaviya star. It subsequently became the national flag of Iran and was so during the Arshakid dynasty (250 BC – 224 AD) and the Sassanid dynasty (224 – 651 AD).

Achaemenid Empire

The use of banners and flags during the Achaemenid era is confirmed in Greek writings and notes of Greek historians. Xenophonte (427 – 355 B.C.) in his book “The Book of Cyrus” wrote about the banners and flags that were placed on the tents of Iranian commanders. They were different from each other. And messengers could not be confused, looking for the right commander by the order of Cyrus.

Besides, shahinshahs had a banner of supreme power, which was placed on the shah’s throne. During the movement of troops it fluttered in the middle of them.

A special red banner of shahinshahs of Achaemenid dynasty had a golden eagle spreading its wings on a spear. It held one golden crown in each paw. The cloth itself was bordered by small triangles of three colors – red, white, green. Such flags were there before this dynasty came to power and remained after it.

Флаг Ирана
Achaemenid Standard in the Iranian National Museum

Arshakid Dynasty

The standard of the Arshakid dynasty (250 BC – 224 AD) was similar to that of the Achaemenids and “Dirafshi Kaviyani”. It was a leather, square-shaped cloth with an image of a star with four rays (“Dirafshi Kaviyani”). The cloth was fixed on the shaft of a spear. On top there was a golden eagle, spreading its wings and holding a golden ball in the claws of each paw (Achaemenids).

The Sassanid Empire

The Persian Sassanid dynasty (224-651), which replaced the Arshakids, descended from the Achaemenids on one side and from the Kayanid dynasty on the other. Therefore, it inherited as a symbol of statehood the flag “Dirafshi Kaviyani” – a four-cornered cloth with a four-beam star on its shaft, crowned with a golden image of an eagle. It stretched its wings and in each paw held a golden ball.

Description and colors of the flag

Now the flag of Iran is a rectangular-shaped cloth, through which pass horizontally three stripes of equal width – green, white and red. In the center of the white stripe is an emblem with a sword in the center and two crescents on each side.

Along the border of the white band, above and below, runs the ancient Arabic script. In translation, the phrase written 22 times means “Allahu Akbar”. Twenty-two is not a random number. It is a reference to the Islamic Revolution that took place on 22 days of the 11th month (22 bahmanas) according to the Iranian calendar.

The colored stripes are a reflection of the transformation that Iran went through after the Islamic Revolution. The three colors have been located on the flag of Iran since the beginning of the 20th century, but in the center was the ancient Persian symbol – a lion with a sword.

Флаг Ирана
The flag of Iran before the 1979 revolution
Вариант флага Ирана (триколор)
Variant of the Iranian flag (tricolor)

After the revolution, the lion was replaced by an emblem with a sword and four crescents.

Previously, the three colors of the flag symbolized the foundation of Iranian society, the three full-fledged free estates:

  • Religious ministers exalted the color white as a sign of holiness, purity of their thoughts and peace on earth.
  • Valiant warriors, ready to sacrifice their lives for the homeland, personified the color red as the color of the blood spilled in war. The military nobility was recognized as the most honored and noble.
  • Farmers, cultivating fertile land and feeding their families was a symbol of nature, prosperity and youth.

The history of Iran is one of the oldest on earth. And the symbols depicted on the flag itself have their roots deep in the ages. Thus, four crescents and a sword, according to an ancient belief, mean that in the burial place of the fallen for the homeland warrior grows a tulip of red color. And nowadays the tulip is recognized as a symbol of sacrifice for the faith and for Iran.

General information about Iran

Official language Persian
Capital Tehran
Territory 1 648 195 km2
Population 81,000,000 people
Currency Iranian riyal

(IRR, code 364)

Phone Code +98

Map of Iran

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