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On 4 September 1980 the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran declared that henceforth it wishes to use the red crescent as the distinctive emblem and sign instead of the red lion and sun.
(See also the French version of the Declaration: )

SOURCE: SCHINDLER/TOMAN, The Laws of Armed Conflicts, Martinus Nijhoff Publishers, 1988, p.576.

The Swiss Federal Council received in Bern 12 September 2000 the following communication dated 23 July 2000 in Farsi:



No.: 640/4329
Date: July 23, 2000


The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Islamic Republic of Iran presents its compliments to the Embassy of Switzerland in Tehran and with reference to Note No. 904/73/4840/18, dated September 3, 1980 has the honor to state:

The Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran announced via the aforementioned note that in a bid to prevent multiplicity of Distinctive International Emblems for aid and charity related affairs and in order to contribute to the unification of these Distinctive Emblems, it would not practice its right of using the “Red Lion and Sun” as one of the three official emblems of the International Union of the Red Cross and will rather use the “Red Crescent” emblem for this purpose. The measure was adopted with the understanding that all government would oblige themselves to accepting one of the two Red Cross or Red Crescent emblems and once an open violation of this is observed, the right will remain for the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran to use its distinctive emblem at national and international levels again.

In view of the prevailing developments in line with increasing the number of emblems, it is emphasized that in the case of approval and increase of new distinctive emblems, the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran will according to Article 38 of the 1949 Geneva Convention on improving the situation of those wounded in the armed forces during military expedition in which, mention has been made of the three emblems of Red Cross, Red Crescent and Red Lion and Sun, maintain its right of using the Red Lion and Sun emblem once again.

In view of the fact that the Government of that Embassy is the depository of the four August 12, 1949 Geneva Conventions on supporting war victims, it would be appreciated if the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Switzerland is informed of the contents of this Note, reiterating the maintenance of the right of the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran to use the “Red Lion and Sun” emblem once again so that consequently, the 1949 Geneva Conventions’ member states are officially informed.

Availing itself of this opportunity to renew the assurances of its highest consideration.

Wishing the victory of the oppressed over the oppressor.