Iranian rial: Wikis


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Iranian rial
ریال ایران (Persian)
50000 IRR obverse.jpg
ISO 4217 Code IRR
User(s) Iran Iran
Inflation 16.8%%
Source The World Factbook, 2009 est.
10 toman
1/100 dinar
Symbol ریال
Coins 50, 100, 250, 500, 1000 rials
Banknotes 100, 200, 500, 1000, 2000, 5000, 10 000, 20 000, 50 000 rials
Central bank Central Bank of Iran

The rial (ریال in Persian; ISO 4217 code IRR) is the currency of Iran. It is subdivided into 100 dinar but, because of the very low current value of the rial, no fraction of the rial is used in accounting.

Although not an official currency since 1932, the toman (ten rial) is frequently used to express amounts of money. Prices are currently most commonly marked in toman, sometimes meaning 1,000 or 1,000,000 toman (10,000 or 10,000,000 rial).

There is no official symbol for the currency but the Iranian standard ISIRI 820 defined a symbol for use on typewriters (mentioning that it is an invention of the standards committee itself) and the two Iranian standards ISIRI 2900 and ISIRI 3342 define a character code to be used for it. The Unicode Standard has a compatibility character defined for "RIAL SIGN" [ریال] at the position U+FDFC.[1]



The rial was first introduced in 1798 as a coin worth 1250 dinar or one eighth of a toman. In 1825, the rial ceased to be issued, with the qiran of 1000 dinars (one tenth of a toman) being issued as part of a decimal system. The rial replaced the qiran at par in 1932, although it was divided into one hundred (new) dinars.[citation needed]

Prior to decimalisation in 1932, these coins and currencies were used, and some of these terms still have wide usage in Iranian languages and proverbs:[2]

Old currency In dinar First issue
shahi 50 dinar Samanid dynasty
mahmoudi (sannar) 100 dinar Sultan Mahmoud
abbasi 200 dinar Shah Abbas I
naderi (da-shahi) 500 dinar Nader Shah
qiran 1000 dinar Fath Ali Shah (1825)
rial 1250 dinar Fath Ali Shah (1798)
dozari 2000 dinar Qajar dynasty
panjzari 5000 dinar Qajar dynasty
toman 10000 dinar Ilkhanate


In 1932, the exchange rate with the British pound was 1 pound = 59.75 rial. This changed to 80.25 in 1936, 64.350 in 1939, 68.8 in 1940, 141 in 1941 and 129 in 1942. In 1945, Iran switched to the U.S. dollar as the peg for its currency, with 1 dollar = 32.25 rial. The rate was changed to 1 dollar = 75.75 rial in 1957. Iran did not follow the dollar's devaluation in 1973, leading to a new peg of 1 dollar = 68.725 rial. The peg to the U.S. dollar was dropped in 1975.

In 1979, 1 rial equaled $0.0141. The value of Iran's currency declined precipitously after the Islamic revolution because of capital flight from the country.[3][4] Studies estimate that the flight of capital from Iran shortly before and after the revolution is in the range of $30 to $40 billion.[5] Whereas on 15 March 1978, 71.46 rials equaled one U.S. dollar, in July 1999, 9430 rials amounted to one dollar. However, the value of the rial has become more stable since 1999, as the economy of Iran has been growing rapidly and away from the dollar zone. (See Iran Currency Exchange Rate History: 1975 - 2007).

Injecting sudden foreign exchange revenues in the economic system forms the phenomenon of "Dutch disease" in a country. There are two main consequences for a country with Dutch disease: loss of price competitiveness in its production goods, and hence the exports of those goods; and an increase in imports. Both cases are clearly visible in Iran. [6]

Exchange rate system

US dollar/Iranian rial historical exchange rate (2003–2008)

Until 2002, Iran’s exchange rate system was based on a multi-layered system, where state and para-state enterprises benefited from the preferred rate (1750 rial for $1) while the private sector had to pay the market rate (8000 rial for $1), hence creating an unequal competition environment. However, in March 2002, the multi-tiered system was replaced by a unified, market-driven exchange rate.

Exchange rates: Rials per US dollar – 9,900 (2009), 9,143 (2008), 9,246 (2006); 8,964 (2005); 8,885 (2004); 8,193 (2003)[7]

Pre-unification, Rials per US dollar:
Market: 8,200 (2002); 8,050 (2001); 8,350 (2000)[8]
Preferred: 6,906 (2002); 1,753 (2001); 1,764 (2000)[9]

Monetary policy is facilitated by a network of 50 Iranian-run forex dealers in Iran, the Middle-East and Europe. According to the WSJ and dealers, the Iranian government is selling $250 million daily to keep the Iranian rial exchange rate against the US dollar between 9,700 and 9,900 (2009).[10]


Because of the current low value of rial, and that people rarely use the term, redenomination or change of currency was first proposed in the late 1980s. The issue has re-emerged and been under discussion, as a result of issuance of larger banknotes in 2003. Opponents of redenomination are wary of more inflation resulting from psychological effects, and increase in velocity of money leading to more instabilities in the economy of Iran.[11][12]

On 12 April 2007, the Economics Commission of the Parliament announced initiation of a statute in draft to change the currency, claiming redenominations has helped reduce inflation elsewhere, such as in Turkey.[13] In 2008, an official at the Central Bank of Iran said the bank plans to slash four zeros off the rial and rename it the toman.[14] The bank printed two new travelers cheques, which function quite similar to a banknote, with values of 500,000 and 1,000,000 rials. However, they have the figures "50" and "100" written on their top right hand corners, respectively, which is seen as the first step toward a new currency.[14]

In 2010, President Ahmadinejad announced that Iran will finally remove three zeros (from four originally proposed) from its national currency as part of the economic reform plan.[15]


First rial

Silver coins were issued in denominations of ⅛, ¼, ½ and 1 rial.

Second rial

An Old Achaemenid Daric Coin Found in Isfahan

The first coins of the second rial currency were in denominations of 1, 2, 5, 10 and 25 dinar, ½, 1, 2 and 5 rial, with the ½ to 5 rial coins minted in silver. Gold coins denominated in pahlavi were also issued, initially valued at 100 rial. In 1944, the silver coinage was reduced in size, with the smallest silver coins being 1 rial pieces. This year also saw the cessation of minting of all denominations below 25 dinar. In 1945, silver 10 rial coins were introduced. In 1953, silver coins ceased to be minted, with the smallest denomination now 50 dinar. 20 rial coins were introduced in 1972.

After the Islamic Revolution, the coinage designs were changed to remove the Shah's effigy but the sizes and compositions were not immediately changed. 50 dinar coins were only minted in 1980 and 50 rial coins were introduced in 1981. In 1993, a new coinage was introduced with smaller 1, 5, 10 and 50 rial coins and new 100 rial pieces. 250 rial coins were introduced the following year. In 2004, the sizes of the 50, 100 and 250 rial coins were reduced and 500 rial coins were introduced. New, smaller types of 250 and 500 rials were introduced in 2009, along with the new denomination of 1000 rials.

Coins currently in circulation are 50, 100, 250, 500 and 1000 rial. The 5, 10, 50 and 100 rials are still legal tender but are not issued anymore.


1000 Rials bank note of the Shah era

In 1932, notes were issued by the "Bank Melli Iran" in denominations of 5, 10, 20, 50, 100 and 500 rial. 1000 rial notes were introduced in 1935, followed by 200 rial notes in 1951 and 5000 and 10,000 rial in 1952. 5 rial notes were last issued in the 1940s, with 10 rial notes disappearing in the 1960s. In 1961, the Central Bank of Iran took over the issuance of paper money.

In 1979, after the Islamic revolution, Iranian banknotes featuring the Shah's face were counter-stamped with intricate designs to cover the Shah's face. The first regular issues of the Islamic Republic were in denominations of 100, 200, 500, 1000, 5000 and 10,000 rial. 2000 rial notes were introduced in 1986.

Issuance of larger notes

Printing banknotes larger than 10,000 rials was first proposed in 1989, and in 1992 the central bank asked for government permission to print 20,000, 50,000 and 100,000 rial notes. This was not realized at that time, due to fears of inflation and counterfeiting.[11] 10,000 rial note remained the highest valued note for more than 50 years, until 2003 when 20,000 rial notes were added.

On 4 March 2007, it was announced that Iran would issue a 50,000 rial banknote with the subject being the Iranian nuclear energy program. The note was issued on 12 March.[16][17] The note features a quote by the prophet Mohammed, translated as: "Even if science is at the Pleiades, some people from the land of Persia would attain it".[18] Banknotes currently in circulation are 100, 200, 500, 1000, 2000, 5000, 10,000, 20,000 and 50,000 rials. After the death of Ruhollah Khomeini, his portraits were used on the obverse of 1000 rial banknote and greater.

Current Series
Image Value Main Colour Description
Obverse Reverse Obverse Reverse
100 IRR obverse.jpg 100 IRR reverse.jpg 100 rial Pink Imam Reza Shrine Chahar-Bagh School
200 IRR obverse.jpg 200 IRR reverse.jpg 200 rial Green Jame' Mosque of Yazd Jahad-e Sazandegi (جهاد سازندگی)
500 IRR obverse.jpg 500 IRR reverse.jpg 500 rial Grey Friday prayers University of Tehran main entrance
1000 IRR obverse.jpg 1000 IRR reverse.jpg 1,000 rial Brown Ruhollah Khomeini Dome of the Rock
2000 IRR obverse.jpg 2000 IRR reverse.jpg 2,000 rial Purple Ruhollah Khomeini Kaaba
5000 IRR obverse.jpg 5000 IRR reverse.jpg 5,000 rial Pink Ruhollah Khomeini traditional decorative birds and flowers pattern
10000 IRR obverse.jpg 10000 IRR reverse.jpg 10,000 rial Green Ruhollah Khomeini Mount Damavand
20000 IRR obverse.jpg 20000 IRR reverse.jpg 20,000 rial Blue Ruhollah Khomeini Naqsh-e Jahan Square
50000 IRR obverse.jpg 50000 IRR reverse.jpg 50,000 rial Purple & Yellow Ruhollah Khomeini Map of Iran with Atom symbol, quote in Persian from the prophet Mohammed, and "Persian Gulf" in English

Cash cheques

Currently the highest valued legal tender banknote issued by the central bank is 50,000 rials (about U.S. $5.05 in 2009). However 500,000 rial and 1,000,000 rial Iran Cheques (see below) circulate freely and are treated as cash.

The central bank used to allow major state banks to print their own banknotes known as "cash cheques". They were a form of bearer teller's-cheque with fixed amounts, printed in the form of official banknotes. Once they were acquired from banks, they could function like cash for a year. Two forms of these banknotes were available. One known as "Iran cheque" could be cashed in any financial institution, while the other could be cashed at the issuing bank. They were printed in 200,000, 500,000, 1,000,000, 2,000,000 and 5,000,000 rial values.[19][20][21]

In 2008, CBI revoked this privilege from banks, and currently issues its own Iran Cheque in 500,000 and 1,000,000 denominations.[22]

Current IRR exchange rates

See also


  1. ^ For the proposal, see Pournader, Roozbeh (2001-09-20). "Proposal to add Arabic Currency Sign Rial to the UCS" (PDF).  It proposes the character under the name of ARABIC CURRENCY SIGN RIAL, which was changed by the standard committees to RIAL SIGN.
  2. ^ "تاريخچه پول در ايران" (in Persian). BBC News Persian. 2007-02-24. Retrieved 2007-06-10. 
  3. ^ Publications
  4. ^ Nader Habibi (2003-07-09). "Iran's Exchage Rate Freeze: Is it Appropriate? Is it sustainable?". Retrieved 2007-06-13. 
  5. ^
  6. ^
  7. ^
  8. ^ Iranian Currency Exchange Rate - Money Exchange in US, Europe & Canada - Iranian Currency Exchange Rate History, Iran Currency System, Iranian Currency History
  9. ^ CIA factbook
  10. ^ Taghavi, Roshanak; Margaret Coker (2009-08-06). "Tehran Struggles to Defend Currency". Wall Street Journal: A7. 
  11. ^ a b روزنامه سرمايه85/12/14: مدير كل نشر اسكناس بانك مركزي : رشد نقدينگي اسكناس درشت تر مي طلبد
  12. ^ [1] [2]
  13. ^ [3][4]
  14. ^ a b "Reports: Toman Iran's new currency." Press TV. 4 September 2008. Retrieved 5 August 2009.
  15. ^
  16. ^ Accessed 05/03/2007
  17. ^ 5 هزار تومانی از پس فردا در دست مردم
  18. ^
  19. ^ CBI
  20. ^ BMI
  21. ^ Bank Refah
  22. ^

External links

Simple English

The Rial is the name of Iran's money. It was first introduced in 1798. One toman equals 10 rials.


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