roots of the national flag can be traced back to
Iranian myths. It represents the campaign of Kaveh,
a blacksmith and leader of popular uprising
against Zahhak, a notorious king for his tyranny.
The Kaviani banner, was a flag Kaveh had made from
leather and hoisted it atop a wooden pole under
which the people gathered to voice their
repugnance over the oppression of the king.
A popular uprising under Kaveh’s leadership
gained momentum until the people destroyed the
Zahhak and brought to power a popular Iranian
figure called Fereydoun, a report by ISNA said.
assuming power, which was entrusted upon him by
the people, Fereydoun ordered the decoration of
Kaviani’s leather banner with colorful pieces of
silk--red, yellow and violet--and placing jewelry
on it. So, the Iranian flag which originally had
three colors--yellow, red and violet--did not have
any emblem on it. Kaviani banner was not a matter
of legendry and history support for the event
which took place in Iran before the Arab invasion.
During the Achaemenid (550 BC-330 BC) and Sasanid
(224 AD-651 AD) reigns, Kaviani banner was held in
esteem by both the civil and military apparatus of
the governing system as a national flag.
reported by early Islamic historians that after
the death of General Rustam Farokhzadan, commander
of Iranian forces by Arab invaders, the Sasanian
NAtional Flag, also called Kaviani Standard which
was adorned with jewels were cut to pieces and divided
among the Arab forces.
Emblem on Iranian Flag
In 976 AD when the Ghaznavian dynasty assumed
power after destroying the Samanian dynasty,
Sultan Mahmoud Ghaznavi ordered that an emblem of
a moon with a dark background be placed on the
tri-color flag. The emblem was embroidered with
golden thread on the flag.
In 1031, Sultan Masoud Ghaznavi ordered that the
emblem of a lion be placed on the banner in view
of his interest in hunting. So the moon was
replaced with lion on the national flag. The lion
remained on the flag forever until the victory of
the 1979 Islamic Revolution.
Under Seljuk and Khwarezmid reigns, coins were
minted with emblem of sun. Therefore the emblem of
the sun also took its place on the national flag.
There are two schools of thought about having the
sun and lion on the national flag.
has always been a symbol "Iran" since
Achaemenid dynasty, which represents bravery and
power in Iranian culture, while the sun symbolized
the Iranian month of Mordad. The sun is very hot
and reaches its zenith in Mordad (July-August, or
the zodiac sign of Leo) which falls in the middle
of the summer. Thus there is correlation between
lion and sun.
However, in the second theory, Mithraists and sun
worshippers in ancient Iran believed in the
sanctity of the sun and that’s why they
preferred to put the emblem of the sun on coins
and the national flag.
Flag, Symbol of National Solidarity
Nader Shah, king of Iran who captured India and
brought home the spoils of war, helped form an
integrated Iranian governing system by putting an
end to oligarchy and declaring the flag as a
symbol of national solidarity.
Qajar Reign and Quadrangle Flag
the reign of Agha Mohammad Khan, the founder of
the Qajar dynasty (1796-97 AD), fundamental
changes were made to the national flag by changing
it into a quadrangle form from the earlier
triangular shape. Agha Mohammad Khan also replaced
the colors because of his hostile views about
Nader Shah. Therefore only the red remained from
the earlier three colors and Green, White and Red
became the official colors of the national flag
with lion and sun atop and a sword in the middle.
the founder of the Islamic Republic, who was
opposing to the concept of the Iranian-nationalism
and anything Iranian, ordered the ban and removal
of the "Lion & Sun" from public life
and government organisations. Since then extensive efforts by the ruling clerics and
repressive actions were made to demonise the "Lion & Sun", but the
emblem still considered by majority of
Iranians (apart from the Islamic fundamentalists and the communists) as the
sole insignia of the Iranian nation.