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Jomhuri-ye Eslami-ye Iran, Islamic Republic of Iran

Last modified: 2002-07-05 by
Keywords: iran | asia | quran | tashdid | allahu akbar | tulip | coat of arms |
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[Iranian flag]by Zeljko Heimer

Flag adopted 29 July 1980, coat of arms adopted 10 May 1980.
Proportion: 4:7
Description: Horizontally divided green-white-red with a red emblem in center and stylized writings on the horizontal edges of the white stripe.
The hoist of the Iranian flag should be at the viewer's right, as it is the case for Saudi Arabia and Iraq, two other flags featuring Arabic writings (which read from right to left).
Use: on land, civil, State and war flag, at sea, civil, State and war ensign.

Colour approximate specifications (as given in Album des Pavillons [pay00]):

On this page:

See also:

Colours of the flag

The colours of the Iranian flag are traditional, probably dating from at least the 18th century and they can be interpreted as representing the Islamic religion (green), peace (white), and courage (red). The were first designed in tricolour form in 1907. The flag's centrepiece formerly comprised a lion with a sword standing before a reising sun, with a crown above, but all traditional flags and banners were abolished after the abdication of the shah in 1979.

Source: Shaw, 1994 [shw94]

Carlos de Noronha, 28 March 1998

Central emblem

The symbol consists of four crescents and a sword. The four crescents are meant to stand for the word Allah (there is indeed some resemblence to the Arabic writing of it). The five parts of the emblem symbolize the five principles of Islam. Above the sword (central part) is a "tashdid" (looks a bit like a W). In Arabic writing this is used to double a letter, here it doubles the strength of the sword.

Harald Müller, 14 May 1996

The shape of the emblem is chosen to remind a tulip, for the memory of the (young) people who died for Iran. It is an ancient belief in Iran, dating back to mythology, that if a young soldier dies patriotically, a red tulip will grow on his grave. In recent years it is considered as the symbol of martyrdom.

M. N., 7 June 1999

Writings on the flag

There are Arabic writings in the border line of the stripes. These are 22 copies of the main Islamic phrase Allahu Akbar meaning "God is greater (than everything)". They are written in a beautiful ancient manner dating back to the first centuries of Islam. You can find the same way of writing (which is called Koofi originated from the city of Koofeh, now in Iraq) on the old mosques throughout Iran.

According to the constitution of the Islamic Republic of Iran, number 22 was chosen because the Islamic Revolution (known as 1979 revolution in western chronology) overthrew the previous regime in the 22nd of the 11th month of the Iranian Calendar.
Iranian Calendar is based on Zodiac signs. The year begins in March 21st and the 11th month coincides exactly with Aquarius.
So we have 11 green copies on the top and 11 red copies on the bottom of the white strip.

The phrase Allahu Akbar is also written in a more modern writing on Iraqi flag.

M.N., 7 June 1999

Coat of arms

[Coat of arms of Iran]by Zeljko Heimer

The coat of arms is made of the emblem which appears on the flag, but in green instead of red.