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Iran Construction Sheet

Last modified: 2012-02-10 by ian macdonald
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[Iran construction sheet] image by Željko Heimer, 5 January 2012

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About the flag

Construction sheet based on a 3:5 dimension flag, as seen in the Iranian embassy in Mexico City.
Juan Manuel Villascan, 3 February 2003

[Iran consturction sheet] image by Juan Manuel Villascan, 3 February 2003

Detail of the Allahu Akbar lettering.
Juan Manuel Villascan, 3 February 2003

A detailed construction sheet is http://www.isiri.org/portal/files/std/1.htm and http://www.isiri.org/portal/files/std/1.pdf. The html and pdf versions are not equal, one appears to be "Third edition" of 1371 (1993) while the pdf seems to be the "1st revision" which seems to be later but with no date provided apparent to me. However, the html version provides more detailed and intricate
construction details then the pdf, so it has been my primary source for this analysis. Plus, the html version may be "run though" the google translator and provide some sort of translation, however rudimentary.

The standard names the flag designer as Nadimi H. (Wikipedia names him Hamid Nadimi, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hamid_Nadimi), who also, apparently, co-chaired the standardization committee working on this standard. The preface seems to imply that the original standard was published in 1349 (that would make it 1971, a bit too early - the pdf version seems to have year 1359 here i.e. 1981 which would be more like it.)

Following the general description and reference to the appropriate article of the Constitution ( 18) the standard continues with detailed specification of textiles to be used, with 6 tables that are of little interest to us at this point. The table 7 under paragraph 3-3 is interesting, providing the standard measures of the flag, provided in 12 standard dimensions (in the pdf the same table is given in paragraph 4-6, on page 13 of the pdf, itself numerated with the Arabic numeral 7). The overall proportion of the flag as 4:7 is explicitly stated in the text preceding the table and then it is obvious from the 12 standard dimensions (given in milimetres):
1: 150262
2: 480840
3: 6001050
4: 7001225
5: 8001400
6: 9001575
7: 10001750
8: 12002100
9: 14002450
10: 16002800
11: 18003150
12: 20003500

The colour illustration of the flag provided in the html is not of much help as the red parts are obviously printed dislocated and slanted from the green part. The same distorted illustration is provided in the pdf.

Immediately preceding the Appendix A there is a black and white drawing of a construction sheet (for this purpose I call it, simplified construction sheet). However, numerals are very difficult to read from it. It seems apparent (and as it is written in the caption) that each of the coloured stripes is 1/3 of the flag width and from the drawing it appears that this includes the "embattlements", which are counted into the coloured stripes' width. The height of the Takbir ("Allah Akbar") is stated to be 1/18 of the flag width. This is close enough for "simplified construction" but is some 2% off from the dimensions obtained by the strict construction. The distance from the stripe edge to the bottom of the central emblem is provided, but I am unable to discern the numerals (probably 1/24 of hoist, but that's almost 10% off the construction). The same for the height of the sword (maybe it heads 2/9 of hoist, about 3% off the construction). I am convinced that this "simplified construction" and the following "compass-and-straightedge construction" are mutually exclusive.

The Appendix A provides relevant extracts from the Constitution and the detailed symbolic of the "hidden words" in the emblem. The emblem is composed of four crescent and a "sword" (standing for the letter 'Alif) and a "shadda" or "tashdid", a "w" shaped sign that doubles the consonant. There is also reference to martyr's tulips. Anyway, a better translation that I could provide should be consulted for details.

The Appendix B finally provides the "compass-and-straightedge construction". This construction starts from a circle circumscribing the central emblem, dealing with its details and the proceeding to the construction of the takhbirs along the stripes and the stripes themselves and finally the rectangle of the flag. However, it is nowhere stated what the size of the circle be to obtain a flag of certain size or something similar. For the construction itself these dimensions are irrelevant, but it is of interest of anyone constructing the design to know with what size he shall end up with. After some experimenting, I found out that the size of the initial circle and the hoist of the final flag are close to 24:100 (e.g. a 36 mm circle yields the flag rectangle within 1% of the first prescribed size 150262 mm - 148.648259.779)

Allowing just a bit more of tolerance, it may be said that the circle diameter is 1/4 of the hoist - this way of computing is probably good enough for everyday use. It is, I believe what was meant with those non-discernable details in the "simplified construction" with 1/24 of the hoist, being 1/8 of the stripe, yielding 3/4 of the white stripe (i.e. 1/4 of the hoist) to be covered with the emblem - only someone made an error making it show the sword eight instead of the entire emblem height.

One starts with drawing a circle, about a quarter of the intended flag hoist size, and inscribe a ten-pointed star in it - i.e. two five-pointed stars, pointing towards left and right. The standard provides guidance for constructing a five-pointed star in a circle using only a compass and a straight edge.

Figure 1
[Iran construction sheet] image by Željko Heimer, 5 January 2012
[Click on image for full size version.]

1. We have a ten-pointed star within the circle, with vertices I shall name V1, V2 etc. to V10 clockwise starting from the top. As we are going to need them later, it is convenient to draw already two diameters passing though the centre of the circle parallel with
lines connecting V4-V10 and V3-V7. The vertical diameter also may be drawn, giving us figure 1. (These figures do not correspond the figures in the standard literally, I reworked them as it seemed to make more sense to follow the construction)

Figure 2
[Iran construction sheet] image by Željko Heimer, 5 January 2012
[Click on image for full size version.]

2. The crescents are constructed as intersections of circle arches. As the emblem is symmetrical around the vertical axis, only one half is shown here, the other obtained easily by mirroring. The centre of the first circle is in the point A, intersecting the lines V5-V9 and V2-V8, with radius passing through the symmetrical point A' (intersection of V2-V6 and V3-V9). This circle intersects the starting circle in the lower end in the point shall define the radius of the second circle at D'. The centre of this second circle is in the point D, which is in turn obtained as intersection of lines B-B' and C-C'. The point B is intersection of lines V1-V7 and V2-V8. The point B' is intersection of V5-V9 and V6-V10. The point C is equal to the vertex V9 and C' is intersection of V2-V6 and V4-V8. Drawing a circle with the centre in D and circumference passing though D' we get the first crescent defined. Fig. 2. (The line D-D' may look as if passing though point B', but it is not quite so, it passes it by very nearly)

Figure 3
[Iran construction sheet] image by Željko Heimer, 5 January 2012
[Click on image for full size version.]

3. Off to construct the second crescent. A line connecting point E = V2 and E' obtained as intersection of lines V5-V9 and V3-V7, intersects the horizontal diameter (line V3-V8) and the point F that forms the centre of the third circle, its circumference passing though V3. The centre of the fourth circle G is at the intersection of the diameter passing though A'-B' and line C-C', its radius is obtained by horizontal line intersecting the line V3-V7 in the point G'. Fig. 3.

Figure 4
[Iran construction sheet] image by Željko Heimer, 5 January 2012
[Click on image for full size version.]

4. Next is the sword, i.e. a half of it. Connecting the ends of the two additional diameters we made in step one, i.e. points H-H' intersects the line V5-V9 in the point J. The we connect the point K (intersection of V6-V10 and V1-V7) and its symmetrical point K' (intersection of V1-V5 and V4-V10). We draw a vertical line through the point L, intersection of line V2-V8 and V4-V10. This vertical line intersects the line K-K' at the point L'. This vertical line forms the edge of the sword above the point L', under it the edge is slanted, passing though L' and J. It intersects the line M (bottom of the circle) - M' (other end of the diameter H-B'-A') at point N, defining the bottom end of the slanted edge of the sword. The bottom edge of the sword is on the line M-M' from J to M. The top arch of the sword shall be obtained in the next step. Fig, 4.

Figure 5
[Iran construction sheet] image by Željko Heimer, 5 January 2012
[Click on image for full size version.]

5. For the construction of the shahada we need a radius, defined by points P (intersection of V5-V9 and V4-V8) and P' (intersection of V4-V8 and E-E'). The first circle defining the shahada has the centre in the point Q, where the vertical L-L' intersects the initial circle. A circle with the centre in Q and radius defined as length P-P' is drawn, intersecting the initial circle at point T. The second circle for shahada has the centre in R', being the intersection of the line R (top of the initial circle) - M' and the vertical L-L'-Q, with the radius passing though the point T. This defines the half of shahada. The circle with the centre in the point T and the radius passing though the intersection of the vertical L-L'-R'-Q and the line V1-V7 defines the top arch of the sword. Fig. 5.

Figure 6
[Iran construction sheet] image by Željko Heimer, 5 January 2012
[Click on image for full size version.]

6. Mirroring these elements around the vertical axis yields the entire emblem, i.e. the "emblem" of Iran.

Figure 7
[Iran construction sheet] image by Željko Heimer, 5 January 2012
[Click on image for full size version.]

7. Now for the white stripe. The line V3-V1 is extended and where it crosses the vertical axis of the initial circle the top edge of the white stripe is set. Similarly, intersection of V3-V5 and the axis determine the lower edge of the white stripe. (these circles above and below the initial circle should match the circles in the "simplified construction" that are given diameters of 1/8=0.125 of the stripe width. After the strict construction, they come somewhat larger, about 0.1366 - that's almost 10% larger, but in regard to the flag hoist size the difference is less the 0.4%)

Figure 8
[Iran construction sheet] image by Željko Heimer, 5 January 2012
[Click on image for full size version.]

8. The height of the Takbir is obtained as the length between the points Z and Z' obtained as the intersections of V1-V5 and V3-V7 the first and V1-V5 and V3-V9 the second. This height is set atop (in extension of the vertical axis) of the "1/8th" circle from the previous step (and also below for the bottom stripe, but again, the process is analogous). The graphical representation is given so to move it fort atop V3 and then above the axis, but this is probably only to make the already complex image less cluttered.

Figure 9
[Iran construction sheet] image by Željko Heimer, 5 January 2012
[Click on image for full size version.]

9. This height above the edge of the white stripe is divided into 7 equal parts (the standard is silent regarding how one does that with a compass and a straight edge...), thus defining a side of a square to form a mesh of 719 squares to be set symmetrically around the vertical axis. Certain squares of the mesh define the Takbir (slightly different in the bottom then the one at the top stripe, to make the "embattlements" at appropriate side). The empty space to the next repetition of the inscription is also equal to the one such square module. Fig. 9.

Figure 5
[Iran construction sheet] image by Željko Heimer, 5 January 2012
[Click on image for full size version.]

10. The inscription is then repeated 5 times to the left and to the right, making so the mesh of 7249 squares along the stripe from one edge of the inscription to the other. Three "empty" squares are added on both sides, making the entire length of the flag including 225 of the square modules.

Figure 11
[Iran construction sheet] image by Željko Heimer, 5 January 2012
[Click on image for full size version.]

11. Adding appropriate colours we get the full image of the flag. While at it, the simplified construction sheet <ir'2.gif>
Željko Heimer, 5 January 2012