There are endless ways to express the love for the one and only Iranian lion and Sun flag. Here comes the story of Iranian Lion and Sun flag, written by Saman Taherpour. The Iranian lion and the sun flag, with more than 3000 years of history, is a symbol of Iran´s unity, and her glorious past. The oldest known confirmation of the flag is found on an inscription dated back to the kingdom of Xerxes for 2400 years ago. This inscription, today kept in the State Hermitage Museum in St Petersburg, shows how the Shah pays his respects to a lion which bear a woman, imbedded in rays of lights, on its back. The fact that the Shah pays respect to the lion and the women on its back shows that this symbol is not a representation of the monarchy, since no Shah shows this kind of respect to an object he himself and Shah´s before him, has created.
The lion symbolize Iran. In Persepolis it is clearly shown that while the lion represents Iran, other animals represent other countries. The sun, represented by the women, is a symbol of both Anahita, the goddess of the waters and the rain, and Mitra, the daughter of Anahita. The State Hermitage Museum holds another historical evidence of the lion and the sun flag; it is a stamp showing Ardeshir II praising Anahita which is standing on the back of a lion. Behind them one can see the sun shining upon them.Also several historical findings from the Ashkanian dynasty as well as from the Sassanid dynasty continually show the symbol of the lion and the sun.
After the occupation of Iran by the Arabs, the Iranians placed the sun behind the lion, and were seen on their flags. Under the Afsharian dynasty and the Safavid dynasty, the lion and the sun could be seen on the Iranian flag, but it was first in the kingdom of Abbas Shah (1587 – 1629) the symbol seriously was identified and put on the flags. After that the Qajar dynasty came to power and Agha Mohammad Khan Qajar began his reign (1742-1797), because of his hate to Nader Shah Afshar, he changed the color of the flag from green, white and red, to only red. In the middle he placed a white circle, and in that circle he placed the lion and the sun.
With Iran going through war after war throughout history, the sword was given a special place and became the symbol of power and bravery. Therefore Agha Mohammad Khan Qajar decided to add the sword to the flag and place it in to the lion´s right hand. Nasser-e-din Shah Qajar, after advice from Amir-Kabir (1807-1852), changed back the color of the flag to green, white and red. The lion, the sun behind it and the sword in its hand, were placed in the middle of the flag.
Our flag honors those who have fought to protect it, and is a reminder of the sacrifice of our nation’s heroes. As the ultimate icon of Iranian great history, the Lion and Sun represents the very best of this nation.
After the constitutional revolution of 1906 and the creation of the Majles, the representatives of the people created a new constitution. Its fifth article stated that the flag of Iran shall be of the colors green, white and red, with the lion and the sun in the middle.
It was clear that they were in a hurry to confirm this law since details of the flag was absent. The Majles were in fact in a hurry because of their fear of the mullahs trying to oppose the lion and the sun emblem and declare it haram.
In 1957 the prime minister of the time, Dr. Manouchehr Eqbal, presented a law to the Majles defining the Iranian flag as horizontal in the three colors of green (above), white (in the middle) and red (under) with the lion and the sun emblem, in golden color, in the middle. It was furthermore decided that the head of the lion should be placed towards the pole and the sword be placed in the right hand of the lion. The law also stated that the paws of the lion should be on the red color of flag, its tail portrayed as a hook and the lion´s face placed toward the person looking at the flag. The sun would be placed, in half, behind the lion, and its ray´s spread upwards, to the right and to the left.
The green color of the flag symbolizes the green forests of the northern Iran. The white color symbolizes the Iranian desert, while the red color symbolizes the warmness of the sun in the south. These three colors have for long been used by Iranians. They can for example be seen in the Shoosh castles. At the end it is important to point that our beautiful green, white and red flag, with its striking lion and sun emblem, have never been a symbol of any political group or a specific ideology. It is solely the symbol of Iran and our proud heritage.