By Amir Khosrow Sheibany
Dec 06, 2001
Written for

I was walking past a barbers shop in London when I saw what looked like the Iranian flag with only a sun emblem in the middle. It turned out this shop was owned by Kurdish hairstylists who were proudly displaying the flag of Kurdistan.

Then I came across these three suggestion in (one), (two), (three), (four) for a new Iranian flag to represent some new Iranian identity. It made me think. When I visit my republican friends at their homes they are always pointing out to me, the Shahanshahi nationalist, that 'their' shir-o khorshid doesn't have a crown above it (with a mischievous smile). And you may or may not know that the Mujahedeen Khalg are now in favor of the shir-o khorshid and wrap it around their organization as if Islamic Marxism is now the vanguard of Aryan culture. The red, black or green flags of the various other groups, Fadayan, Iran Freedom Movement, Islamic xyz are out there in the history books for those looking for inspiration also.

So it seems, when the symbols of the Arab national movement and Indian freemasonry are removed from our nations flag, there is going to be the usual monkey business and 'ghar kardan'.

Now, whatever flag we are going to end up with, I present to you some suggested rules of etiquette with regards to the future flag of Iran. Can we at least agree on these rules? Or is some "very clever" 45 year old ex-revolutionary going to propose doing away with a national flag/anthem altogether?

Proper Flag Etiquette

General Display of the flag

It is the universal custom to display the flag from sunrise to sunset on buildings and stationary flagstaffs in the open. However, when a patriotic effect is desired, the flag may be displayed twenty-four hours a day if properly illuminated during the hours of darkness.

1) When displayed either horizontally or vertically against a wall, the Shir-o Khorshid should be the uppermost and to the flag's own right, that is, to the observer's left. When displayed in a window, the flag should be displayed in the same way, with the Lion facing to the left of the observer in the street.

No other flag or pennant should be placed above, or if on the same level, to the right of the flag of Iran, except during religious services conducted by naval officers at sea...for personnel of the Navy...when the religious pennant may be flown above the flag.

No person shall display the flag of the United Nations or any other national or international flag equal, above, or in a position of superior prominence or honor to, or in place of, the flag of Iran at any place within Iran or any Territory or possession thereof; Provided, that nothing in this section shall make unlawful the continuance of the practice heretofore followed of displaying the flag of the United Nations in a position of superior prominence of honor, and other national flags in positions of equal prominence or honor, with that of the flag of Iran at the headquarters of the United Nations.

2) When flags of provinces, cities, or localities, or pennants of societies are flown on the same halyard with the flag of Iran or to the Iranian flag's right.
3) When the flags are flown from adjacent staffs, the flag of Iran should be hoisted first and lowered last. No such flag or pennant may be placed above the flag of Iran or to the Iranian flag's right.

4) The flag of Iran, when it is displayed with another flag against a wall from crossed staffs, should be on the right, the flag's own right, and its staff, should be on the right, the flag's own right, and its staff should be in front of the staff of the other flag.

5) The flag of Iran should be at the center and at the highest point of the group when a number of flags of provinces or localities or pennant of societies are grouped and displayed from staffs.

6) When flags of two or more countries are displayed, they are to be flown from separate staffs of the same height. The flags should be of approximately equal size. International usage forbids the display of the flag of one nations above that of another nation in time of peace.

Display within Mosques, Churches, Synagogues, Sholegard etc. and Auditoriums

7) When used on a speaker's platform, the flag, if displayed flat, should be displayed above and behind the speaker. When displayed from a staff in a church or public auditorium, the flag of
Iran should hold the position of superior prominence, in advance of the audience, and in the position of honor at the clergyman's or speaker's right as he faces the audience. Any other flag so displayed should be placed on the left of the clergyman or speaker or the right of the audience.

Display when flag is at Half-Staff

8) The flag, when flown at half-staff, should be first hoisted to the peak for an instant and then lowered to the half-staff position. The flag should be again raised to the peak before it is lowered for the day. On national memorial days, the flag should be displayed at half-staff until noon only, then raised to the top of the staff. By order of the Nokhost-Vazir (Prime Minister), the flag shall be flown at half-staff upon the death of principal figures of the Iranian Government and the Governor of a province, territory or possession, as a mark of respect to their memory. In the event of the death of other officials or foreign dignitaries, the flag is to be displayed at half-staff according to Foreign Ministers instructions or orders, or in accordance with recognized customs or practices not inconsistent with the law.

In the event of the death of a present or former official of the government of any province, territory or possession of Iran, the Governor of that province, territory or possession may proclaim that the National flag may be flown at half-staff.

Please mail your comments to me at

For further reading visit  Lion & Sun  and click on image of Flag.

Additional: The canvas is in the Hermitage Museum (Russia) and depicts the victory of Abbas Mirza Qajar over some Russian troops. The Shir-o-khorsheed banner and the double-headed eagle are both clearly depicted.