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Symbol Red Lion and Sun society
The flag of the Red Lion and Sun society

The Red Lion and Sun Society of Iran (Persian: جمعیت شیر و خورشید سرخ ایران‎) was established in 1922 and admitted to the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement in 1923.[1] However, some report the symbol was introduced at Geneva in 1864[citation needed][2] as a counter example to the crescent and cross used by two of Iran's rivals, the Ottoman Empire (modern-day Turkey) and Russia.

International Red Cross, Red Lion and Sun and Red Crescent medal; Paris mint

Though that claim is inconsistent with the history of the Red Crescent, that history also suggests that the Red Lion and Sun, like the Red Crescent, may have been conceived during the Russo-Turkish War (1877–1878). It may have also been partly inspired by the similarities between the Red Crescent and the Ottoman flag.

In 1980, because of the association of the emblem with the last Shah, the newly proclaimed Islamic Republic of Iran replaced the Red Lion and Sun with the Red Crescent, consistent with most other Muslim nations. Though the Red Lion and Sun has now fallen into disuse, Iran has in the past reserved the right to take it up again at any time; the Geneva Conventions continue to recognize it as an official emblem, and that status was confirmed by Protocol III in 2005 even as it added the Red Crystal.

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