Iran is the birthplace of Zoroaster, one of the oldest prophets of the world and founder of Zoroastrian religion. The official religion of Iran, based on Article 12 of the Constitution, is Islam (Shiite), and about 99.56% of people are Muslims. Disciples of other branches of Islam like Hanafi, Maleki, Shafei, Hanbali, and Zaidi in Iran are highly respected and live freely without any limitations. In the Constitution of I.R. Iran, religions of Zoroastrian, Christian, and Jewish are recognized officially and their disciples have equal political, social and economic rights like Muslims. Religious minorities of Zoroastrian, Armenian, Jewish, Assyrian, and Chaldean have their own independent representatives in the Islamic Consultative Assembly (the Parliament).
Cultural richness of Iran in different arenas like different eastern art literature and Gnosticism has global reputation. Iranian myths, fictions, philosophy, poetry, music, folklore, handicrafts, architecture, and decorative arts are important parts of human thoughts.
Language, Handwriting, Calendar and Flag
According to the Constitution of the I.R. Iran, the common official language and handwriting is Farsi (the Persian language). The starting point for Iranian official calendar is the flight of prophet Mohammed (peace be upon him) in 622 AD which marks the beginning of the Islamic calendar. The first of Farvardin (March 21st) is beginning of New year in Iran according to solar calendar. The official flag of Iran is in three green, white, and red colors with the sign of I.R. Iran and also with 22 marks depicting Allaho Akbar (God is Great). More than half of the people in Iran speak Farsi (the Persian language) and various Persian dialects. After Farsi, Turkish is the most common language in Iran.
Persian language has its own eloquence and versatility. Consequently, some parts of the most outstanding literature works in oriental countries, especially in the realm of Iranian culture, from Transoxiana to Asia Minor, have been written in Farsi. Rich Iranian culture and Persian language impressed many tribes of central Asia, in spite of their domination over geographical realm of Iran for a short time.