The oldest records of animation in Persia (Iran) dates back to 5000 years ago. A series of drawings on an earthen goblet that belongs to 5000 years ago was found in Burnt City in Sistan and Baluchestan Province, southeastern Iran. The artist has portrayed a goat that jumps toward a tree and eats its leaves. Similar forms of pottery with sequential pictures can also be found throughout medieval Islamic Persia.
The art of animation as practiced in modern day Iran started in the 1950s. Iran's animation owes largely to the animator Noureddin Zarrinkelk. Zarrinkelk was instrumental in founding the Institute for Intellectual Development of Children and Young Adults (IIDCYA) in Tehran in collaboration with the late father of Iranian graphics Morteza Momayez and other fellow artists like Farshid Mesghali, Ali Akbar Sadeghi, and Arapik Baghdasarian.
Over the last few decades Iranian animation has found international reputation. The Iranian animation film The Hole made by Vahid Nasirian and produced by the Experimental and Documentary Film Center was awarded second prize at the 19th Odense International Film Festival, Denmark.
Tehran International Animation Festival was established in February 1999. The festival was aimed to bring together Iranian and foreign animators and animation films and providing a showcase for unknown potentials of this type of cinema. In 1999, 896 films from Iran and 32 other countries applied for participation in the festival, of which 488 titles were selected for screening during the four days of the event. Other highlights of the first edition of the Festival were special screenings dedicated to commemoration of Feodor Khitrouk (well-known Russian Animator) and Esfandiar Ahmadieh (Father of Iranian animation cinema), who were themselves present in the event, as well as exhibition of animation films of Studio Pannonia of Hungary, ASIFA of South Korea, and works from Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Yugoslavia and Russia. Retrospectives of works of Bruno Bozzetto and Ali Akbar Sadeghi and screening of student animation films were other sections of the festival. The festival also paid homage to Jean-Luc Xiberras whose name is interwoven with Annecy Festival.