The modern flag of Iran was adopted on July 29, 1980 and is reflective of changes brought on by the Iranian Revolution. The flag is divided into three, equal horizontal stripes of green, white, and red. There is a red stylized emblem in the center of the flag and white Kufic script on the inside of the green and red stripes. In Iranian culture, the green in the flag symbolizes growth, happiness, unity, nature, and the Persian language. The green can also be symbolic of Islam, which is true for other Islamic countries. The white is the traditional color of freedom. The red is meant to stand for martyrdom. In Iranian culture red can also stand for fire, life, love, warmth, and sophistication.
The center emblem of the Iran flag, designed by Hamid Nadimi, is a compilation of Islamic symbols. It is a combination of the geometrically symmetric form of the word “Allah” and parts of the phrase, “There is no God Except Allah”. The composite creates a tulip shaped monogram. The tulip has four crescents and a central line. The tulip memorializes all who have died for Iran and symbolizes the values of patriotism and self-sacrifice. There is also a legend in Iran that tulips grow from the shed blood of martyrs. In Kufic script on the inner bands of the red and green parts to the flag, “Allah is the greatest” is repeated 11 times per band, 22 times in total on the flag. This represents the night of 22 Bahman (February 11, 1979) which marked the unofficial beginning of the Islamic Republic.
Historically, since the first version of the modern flag was created during The Iranian Constitutional Revolution of 1906, the Iranian flag has featured a tricolored form in green, white, and red. Early on, flags had a gold lion and sun emblem in the middle of the flag. The lion and sun became popular in Iran in the 12th century. The emblem started as purely an astrological and zodiacal symbol representing the house of Leo. Under Safavid and the first Qajar kings, the lion and sun came to represent Shia Islam. During this time period, the lion and sun also stood for the two pillars of society; the state and Islamic religion. In the 19th century, the lion became more associated with nationalism, and eventually a crown was added to the lion to symbolize monarchy. When adopting a new flag in 1980, it was decided to remove the lion and sun symbol because they were viewed as the, “oppressive Westernizing monarchy”. The lion and sun were replaced with the stylized tulip monogram seen on the Iran flag today.