Iranian rial

Iranian rial

Infobox Currency
currency_name_in_local = ریال ایران fa icon
image_1 =
image_title_1 = 50,000 rial banknote, reverse
image_2 =
image_title_2 = 20,000 rial banknote, obverse and reverse
iso_code = IRR
symbol =
using_countries = Iran
inflation_rate = 17%
inflation_source_date = " [ The World Factbook] ", July 2007 est.
superunit_ratio_1 = 10
superunit_name_1 = toman
superunit_inline_note_1 = (unofficial)
subunit_ratio_1 = 1/100
subunit_name_1 = dinar
used_coins = 50, 100, 250, 500 rials
used_banknotes = 100, 200, 500, 1000, 2000, 5000, 10 000, 20 000, 50 000 rials
issuing_authority = Central Bank of Iran
issuing_authority_website =
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" [﷼] at the position U+FDFC. [For the proposal, see cite web|last=Pournader|first=Roozbeh|date=2001-09-20|title=Proposal to add Arabic Currency Sign Rial to the UCS|url=|format=PDF It proposes the character under the name of ARABIC CURRENCY SIGN RIAL, which was changed by the standard committees to RIAL SIGN.]


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.

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: [cite news | title= تاريخچه پول در ايران | url= | publisher=BBC News Persian | date=2007-02-24 | accessdate=2007-06-10 | language= Persian ]


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. [ [ Publications ] ] [cite web | author= Nader Habibi | date=2003-07-09 | url= | title= Iran's Exchage Rate Freeze: Is it Appropriate? Is it sustainable? | accessdate=2007-06-13] . 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] ).

Exchange rate system

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" - 9,246.94 (2006), 8,964 (2005), 8,885 (2004), 8,193.89 (2003): "Pre-unification, Rials per US dollar:"

"Market": 8,200 (2002), 8,050 (2001), 8,350 (2000) [ [ Iranian Currency Exchange Rate - Money Exchange in US, Europe & Canada - Iranian Currency Exchange Rate History, Iran Curency System, Iranian Currency History ] ]

"Preferred": 6,906.96 (2002), 1,753.56 (2001), 1,764.43 (2000) [CIA factbook]


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. [ روزنامه سرمايه85/12/14: مدير كل نشر اسكناس بانك مركزي : رشد نقدينگي اسكناس درشت تر مي طلبد ] ] [ [] [] ]

On April 12 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. [ [] [] ]


First rial

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

econd rial

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.

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


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. 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. [ Accessed 05/03/2007] [ [ 5 هزار تومانی از پس فردا در دست مردم ] ] The note features a quote by Mohammed, translated as: "Even if science is at the Pleiades, some men from the land of Persia would attain it". [ [ ] ]
Banknotes currently in circulation are 100, 200, 500, 1000, 2000, 5000, 10,000, 20,000 and 50,000 rials. Portraits of Ruhollah Khomeini are found on the obverse of 1000 rial banknote and greater.

Cash cheques

Currently the highest valued legal tender issued by the central bank is 50,000 rials (about U.S$5.40 in 2007). However, the central bank allows major state banks to print their own banknotes known as "cash cheques" (Persian: چک مسافرتی "chekpul"). They are a form of bearer teller's-cheque with fixed amounts, printed in the form of official banknotes. Once they are acquired from banks, they function like cash for a year, however stores may reject higher value notes. Two forms of these banknotes are available. One known as "Iran cheque" can be cashed in any financial institution, while the other must be cashed at the issuing bank. They are printed in 200,000, 500,000, 1,000,000, 2,000,000 and 5,000,000 rial values. [ [ CBI] ] [ [ BMI] ] [ Bank Refah]

ee also

* Economy of Iran
* Iranian Oil Bourse
* Least valued currency unit


External links

* [ Iran Collection, a website about Persian banknotes and coins since Qajar era.] Standard numismatics external links
world_coin_gallery_1_url = Iran
world_coin_gallery_1_name = Iran
banknote_world_1_url = iran
banknote_world_1_name = Iran
dollarization_1_url = asia
dollarization_1_name = Asia
gfd_1_url = Iran
gfd_1_name = Iran
gfd_data_1_url = 2758
gfd_data_1_name = Iran Rial
show_gfd_excel = Y

* [ Central Bank of Iran - Statistics]

*wikitravel|Iran (information on currency exchange and credit card payment)

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