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

Last modified: 2022-12-17 by ian macdonald
Keywords: coat of arms | allahu akbar | tulip | koran | triband: horizontal (green white red) |
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[Iran] 4:7 by Antonio Gutiérrez, 27 January 2008

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Description of the Flag

Horizontally divided green-white-red with a red emblem in the 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 writing which reads from right to left.

Approximate specifications (as given in Album des Pavillons 2000:

  • Red: Pantone 186 c / CMYK (%) C 0 - M90 - Y 80 - K 5
  • Green: Pantone 355 c / CMYK (%) C 100 - M 0 - Y 95 - K 5
Use: on land, civil, state and war flag, at sea, civil, State and war ensign.

I visited the Islamic Republic of Iran embassy in Mexico City and I asked about the Iranian flag and emblem. I got the ratio as 3:5 and the approximate colors (PMS) as Pantone hexacrome green C, white, and Pantone Warm Red C.
Manuel Gabino Villascán, 3 February 2003

Is this ratio based on numbers you read in a text of law or did you measure it yourself on a "piece of cloth?"
Armand Noel du Payrat, 4 February 2003

The ratio is based on measurements taken from a desk flag, a "hall" flag, and from the brochures provided by the embassy.
Manuel Gabino Villascán, 4 February 2003

The Iranian flag displayed vertically is seen here:
Esteban Rivera, 9 October 2010

The protocol manual for the London 2012 Olympics (Flags and Anthems Manual London 2012) provides recommendations for national flag designs. Each NOC was sent an image of the flag, including the PMS shades, for their approval by LOCOG. Once this was obtained, LOCOG produced a 60 x 90 cm version of the flag for further approval. So, while these specs may not be the official, government, version of each flag, they are certainly what the NOC believed the flag to be. For Iran: PMS 186 red, 355 green. The vertical flag is simply the horizontal version turned 90 degrees clockwise.
Ian Sumner, 10 October 2012

An article regarding the development of the national flag of Iran can be seen at,  from: online "Ajam Media Collective"
and another article regarding the history of the flags of Iran at from: Encyclopaedia Iranica
Bill Garrison, 19 September 2019

Color Symbolism

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). They were first designed in tricolor form in 1907. The flag's centerpiece formerly comprised a lion with a sword standing before a rising sun, with a crown above, but all traditional flags and banners were abolished after the abdication of the shah in 1979.
Source: Shaw, 1994
Carlos de Noronha, 28 March 1998

Another interpretation of the significance of the colours is red, the colour of the blood lost by the people who died for their country; white for peace and friendship with any other country; green for the greenness of the country and lots of fruits and vegetables growing in this county.
Minu Bahrami, 7 July 2010

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 resemblance to the Arabic writing of it). The five parts of the emblem symbolize the five pillars 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 Mueller, 14 May 1996

Looking at the explanation of reading of the symbol, it seems that the entire symbol together reads simply Allah.
Željko Heimer, 8 February 2003

The shape of the emblem is chosen to recall a tulip, in 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

Allahu Akbar

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 Kufic from the city of Kufa, now in Iraq) on old mosques throughout Iran.

According to the constitution of the Islamic Republic of Iran, the number 22 was chosen because the Islamic Revolution (known as the 1979 revolution in western chronology) overthrew the previous regime on the 22nd of the 11th month of the Iranian Calendar. The Iranian Calendar is based on Zodiac signs. The year begins on March 21st and the 11th month coincides exactly with Aquarius. So we have 11 green repetitions on the top and 11 red repetitions on the bottom of the white strip.
M.N., 7 June 1999

It depends on what is meant by "Arabic writing." If it means "Arabic script," then the current quote is correct, as the usual name for that particular script used for the usual Arabic, Persian (and many other) orthographies is indeed "Arabic script." (Just like the Latin script, used to write Latin and many other languages too.) On the other hand, the specific character repertoire and other orthographic features are not 100% the same for Arabic and Persian, and therefore we can tell apart subsets of the Arabic script and call them the "Arabic alphabet" and the "Persian alphabet". Note that this distinction between "alphabet" and "script" is not clear cut and indeed these words are interchangeable or synonyms in some contexts. Finally, while certainly Persian (Farsi) is the national language of Iran and and native to most of its population (minorities include Arabic speakers in Khuzestan), I'd bet, without looking it up, that the 22 times repeated writing on the national flag of Iran is indeed in Arabic language, being a religious utterance.
António Martins-Tuválkin, 27 September 2003

The Kufic script used on the Iranian flag is one of two main branches of Arab scripts. It is mainly used for monumental inscriptions on buildings, tombstones, etc. Some experts distinguish the Kufic script as an independent script. Both are developed from the Nabatean script in the 4th-7th centuries. As to the Iranian Iranian flag, the phrase is in Arabic, and we cannot tell if it is the Persian script or a Persian variation of Kufic script, or just Kufic.
Gvido Petersons, 29 September 2003

António is correct that the inscriptions are Arabic, as I just confirmed with an Iranian-born colleague of mine. Farsi pronunciation of the words would vary slightly from standard Arabic, but he said there is no doubt that the inscriptions on the flag are in Arabic.
Joseph McMillan, 29 September 2003

In the article regarding the development of the national flag of Iran can be seen at,  from: online "Ajam Media Collective", it is mentioned that the original Kufic script of Allahu Akbar had to be modified as it resembled initally the letters USA.
Bill Garrison, 19 September 2019

Apparently, towards the end of the development of the current Iranian flag, designer Hamid Nadimi used a different Takbir design that I’ve attached,  which was denied for resembling the latin word “USA” too much. He later redesigned it into what would be the current flag. [The original design can be seen here.]
Source: Mr. Nadimi’s interview with Rang Magazine:

I’ve translated the specific paragraph where this change is mentioned through google translate, as well as adding notes and fixed translations in brackets ( [] ):
"...He paused a bit and continued: "Everything in this revolution was arranged by God. You see, we included eleven Allahu Akbar, which totaled twenty-two Allahu Akbar, that is, the date of the victory of the Islamic Revolution, 11/22/57 [Persian calendar, 1357-11-22], that too with the slogan of Allahu Akbar." He pulled out a piece of paper and drew a different Allah Akbar with a pencil, "The Allah Akbar of the first flag was different, the same form seen in minarets and mosques. For example, this role is also present in the Goharshad Mosque. Then he laughed and said: "Some of the followers did not like the logo of Hosseiniyyah Irshad and took the name of some caliphs from it." I don't know which [bastard] said that the word (USA) can be seen in our Allah Akbar. Then we decided to design another shape, but I liked the first one more.”…"
George Moody, 2 November 2022

No half-masting of Iranian flag

A government directive, issued on July 18, 2007, banned executive organs from flying Iran's national flag half-mast as a gesture of respect and sympathy on mourning occasions. Vice-President Parviz Davoodi said in his directive that flying the flag for two-third of the way up the flagpole would be disrespect for the holy word, 'Allah' (God), which appears in central part of the three-colored national flag. The notice, a copy of which was made available to IRNA on Saturday, suggested the organs raise more than one flag -- the second one being black at half-mast point- for the purpose on the occasions.
Pascal Vagnat, 23 July 2007


[Iranian jack] image by Miles Li, 30 July 2004

The current jack of the Iranian Navy.
Source: Jane's Fighting Ships 2002-03

A photo of this flag can be seen at
Bill Garrison, 12 August 2021

Coat of arms

[Coat of arms of Iran]by Željko Heimer

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