|ریال ایران (Persian)|
|Freq. used||5,000, 10,000, 20,000, 50,000, 100,000, 500,000 ﷼|
|Rarely used||1,000, 2,000 ﷼|
|Freq. used||1,000, 2,000, 5,000 ﷼|
|Rarely used||250, 500 ﷼|
|Central bank||CBI (Since 1960)|
|Printer||SPMO (Since 1982)|
De La Rue (former)
US$1 = 42119 rials
(May 24, 2019)
US$1 = 113500 rials
(Oct 29, 2019)
Although the "toman" (تومان) is no longer an official unit of Iranian currency, Iranians commonly express amounts of money and prices of goods in tomans. For this purpose, one toman equals ten rials. Despite this usage, amounts of money and prices of goods are virtually always written in rials. For example, the sign next to a loaf of bread in a store would state the price in rials, e.g., 10,000 rials, even though the clerk, if asked, would say that the bread costs 1,000 tomans. 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 U+FDFC ﷼ RIAL SIGN (HTML
﷼). The Iranian Rial was devalued in July 2013 to half its previous value as the government reduced subsidisation of the exchange rate against the dollar. In December 2016, the Iranian government announced the country's currency would be changed from the Rial to the commonly used Toman. Such a move requires the approval of the Iranian Parliament. In 2019, Iranian government ministers passed a bill to drop four zeros, as well as revalue one toman to equal one hundred parsehs instead of the previous ten rials.
The rial was first introduced in 1798 as a coin worth 1,250 dinars or one eighth of a toman. In 1825, the rial ceased to be issued, with the qiran subdivided into 20 shahi or 1,000 dinar and was worth one tenth of a toman, being issued as part of a decimal system. The rial replaced the qiran at par in 1932, subdivided into 100 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:
|Old Currency||In dinar||First issue||Year|
|Shahi||50 dinars||Shah Ahmad (Samanid)||819|
|Mahmoudi (Sannar)||100 dinars||Shah Mahmoud (Ghaznavid)||998|
|Toman||10,000 dinars||Hulagu Khan (Ilkhanate)||1256|
|Abbasi||200 dinars||Shah Abbas I (Safavid)||1588|
|Naderi||500 dinars||Nader Shah (Afsharid)||1736|
|Rial||1,000 dinars||Fath Ali Shah (Qajar)||1798|
|Qiran||1,000 dinars||Fath Ali Shah (Qajar)||1825|
In 1932, the rial was pegged to the British pound at 1 pound = 59.75 rials. The exchange rate was 80.25 in 1936, 64.350 in 1939, 68.8 in 1940, 141 in 1941 and 129 in 1942. In 1945, the rial was pegged to the U.S. dollar at 1 dollar = 32.25 rials. The rate was 1 dollar = 75.75 rials in 1957. Iran did not follow the dollar's devaluation in 1973, leading to a new peg of 1 dollar = 68.725 rials. The peg to USD was dropped in 1975.
In 1979, 70 rials equalled US$1. The value of the rial declined precipitously after the Islamic revolution because of capital flight from the country. Studies estimate that the flight of capital from Iran shortly before and after the revolution in the range of $30 to $40 billion. Whereas on 15 March 1978, 71.46 rials equalled US$1, in July 1999, US$1 equalled 9,430 rials.
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. The solution is to direct the extra revenues from oil into the National Development Fund for use in productive and efficient projects.
Although described as an (interbank) "market rate", the value of the Iranian rial is tightly controlled by the central bank. The state ownership of oil export earnings and its large reserves, supervision of letters of credit, together with current - and capital outflow account - outflows allows management of demand. The central bank has allowed the rial to weaken in nominal terms (4.6% on average in 2009) in order to support the competitiveness of non-oil exports.
There is an active black market in foreign exchange, but the development of the TSE rate and the ready availability of foreign exchange during 2000 narrowed the differential to as little as IR100 in mid-2000. However, the spread increased again in September 2010 because channels for transferring foreign currency to and from Iran being blocked because of international sanctions.
Monetary policy is facilitated by a network of 50 Iranian-run forex dealers in Iran, the rest of the Middle East and Europe. According to the Wall Street Journal and dealers, the Iranian government was selling $250 million daily to keep the rial exchange rate against the US dollar between 9,700 and 9,900 in 2009. At times (before the devaluation of the rial in 2013) the authorities weakened the national currency intentionally by withholding the supply of hard currency to earn more rial-denominated income, usually at times when the government faced a budget deficit.
The widening of the gap between official and unofficial exchange rates stood at over 20% in November 2011. This shows the correlation between the value of foreign currencies and the domestic inflationary environment.
The unofficial rial to US dollar rate underwent severe fluctuations in January 2012 (the rial losing 50% of its value in a few days, following new international sanctions against the CBI), eventually settling at 17,000 rials at the end of the period. Besides all the bad effects on the economy in general, this had the effect of boosting the competitiveness of Iran's domestic industries abroad. Following President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's decision to liberalize the mechanism by which bank interest rates are set (granting banks the authority to raise interest rates to 21%), CBI announced that it would be fixing the official rate of the rial against the dollar at 12,260 rials from 28 January 2012 and seek to meet all demand for foreign currency through banks.
On 25 September 2012, the rial fell to a new low of 26,500 to the USD. The drop followed the government's launch of a foreign exchange center a day before, that would provide importers of some basic goods with foreign exchanges, at a rate about 2% cheaper than the open market rate on a given day. The announced rate at the center on 24 September was 23,620 rials to USD. By early October 2012, the rial had fallen further to about 38,500 rials per USD in the free market. The rial was devalued in July 2013 as the government reduced subsidisation of the exchange rate against the dollar. Also in October 2017, the rial fell further to about 42,500 rials per USD in the free market
On 9 April 2018, the rial fell to its lowest rate in 35 years of around 60,060 rials to USD for any kind of business. According to Iranian sources, in 2018, $59 billion left Iran since the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action was signed in July 2015, contributing to a further depreciation of the rial.
|Year||Official rate||Transfer/Business/Trade/Parallel/Free rate|
- Pre-unification, rials per US dollar:
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 or official rate" (1,750 rial for USD) while the private sector paid the "market rate" (8,000 rial for USD), hence creating an unequal competition environment. The "official rate" applied to oil and gas export receipts, imports of essential goods and services, and repayment of external debt. The "export rate", fixed at 3,000 rials per USD since May 1995, applied to all other trade transactions, but mainly to capital goods imports of public enterprises.
In 1998, in order to ease pressure on exporters, the central bank introduced a currency certificate system allowing exporters to trade certificates for hard currency on the Tehran Stock Exchange, thus creating a floating value for the rial known as the "TSE rate" or "market rate". This method finally replaced the fixed "export rate" (IR3,000:US$1) in March 2000, and has since held steady at some IR8,500:US$1.
In March 2002, the multi-tiered system was replaced by a unified, market-driven exchange rate. In 2002 the "official rate" a/k/a "preferred rate" (IR1,752:US$1) was abolished, and the TSE rate became the basis for the new unified foreign-exchange regime. Iran's Central Bank channels more than 90 per cent of hard currency into the local market (2012).
In a move interpreted as aiming at unifying currency exchange rates, on September 24, 2012, the government launched a foreign exchange centre, that would provide importers of some basic goods with foreign exchanges, at a rate about 2% cheaper than the open market rate on a given day. This project was canceled following the strong depreciation of the rial between 2012 and 2013 but was put on the agenda again in 2015 for use in the reunification of forex rates (planned for 2017) and the introduction of currency derivatives. through the Iran Mercantile Exchange.
In addition to banks, exchange shops are also available for limited transactions. Exchange shops must operate under the licenses issued by Central Bank of Iran. Foreign currencies can be bought or sold at these exchange shops.
Exchange restriction arises from limitations on the transferability of rial profits from certain investments under the Foreign Investment Promotion and Protection Act and from limitations on other investment-related current international payments under this act.
Multiple currency practices
- Budget subsidies for foreign exchange purchases in connection with payments of certain letters of credit opened prior to March 21, 2002 under the previous multiple exchange rate system (see above);
- Obligations of entities that had received allocations of foreign exchange at subsidized "allocated rates" under the previous multiple exchange rate system to surrender unused allocations to the Central Bank of Iran at the allocation rate.
- Official Exchange Rate
- Free Trade Zone Exchange Rate
- Referential Exchange Rate
- Black Market Exchange Rate
In 2012, Bank Markazi classified a long list of goods into categories with priorities 1 through 10, leaving it to the parallel market to take of all other needs. Priorities 1 and 2 are food and medicine, receiving foreign exchange at the official rate of 12,260 rials per dollar, followed by other categories with lower priorities, which are mostly intermediate goods used in industrial production.
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.
On 12 April 2007, the Economics Commission of the Parliament announced initiation of a statute in draft to change the currency, claiming redenominations had helped reduce inflation elsewhere, such as in Turkey. 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. 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.
In 2010, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad announced that Iran would remove three zeros (not the four that had been proposed) from its national currency as part of the economic reform plan.
In April 2011, it was reported that the Central Bank is working on a six-month redenomination project to cut four zeros from the national currency and replace old bank notes with new ones, similar to the revaluation of the Turkish lira in 2005.
A website to poll the public on the redenomination plan was launched on 21 July 2011; the public was allowed to vote on how many zeroes to cut and what the new currency's name should be. Preliminary results indicate that four zeroes would be cut (in line with the government's recommendation) and that the name will be changed to Parsi.
In July 2019, the Iranian government approved a bill to change the national currency from the rial to the tuman and remove four zeros. It would also change the value of 1 toman to be 100 rials instead of the former value of 1 toman equaling 10 rials. The process will reportedly cost $160 million, and needs the final approval of the Iranian parliament.
CIA market manipulation
It was reported in 2007 that a U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) plan had been authorized to manipulate the Iranian rial in order to destabilize the country, though the details and outcome of said plan are not known. Iran reported arresting 20 "Forex manipulators" in 2012.
During the late 18th and early 19th century, Silver coins were issued in denominations of 1⁄8, 1⁄4, 1⁄2 and 1 rial.
The first coins of the second rial currency, introduced in 1932, were in denominations of 1, 2, 5, 10 and 25 dinars, 1⁄2, 1, 2 and 5 rials, with the 1⁄2 to 5 rials coins minted in silver. Gold coins denominated in pahlavi were also issued, initially valued at 100 rials. In 1944, the silver coinage was reduced in size, with the smallest silver coins being 1 rial pieces. Minting of all denominations below 25 dinars ended in this year. In 1945, silver 10 rials coins were introduced. In 1953, silver coins ceased to be minted, with the smallest denomination now 50 dinars. 20 rials 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 1979 and 50 rial coins were introduced in 1980. In 1992, 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. 2000 and 5000 rial coins were introduced in 2010.
|Iranian rial coins currently in circulation|
|Image||Value||Technical parameters||Description||Date of|
|50 rials||20.2 mm||1.33 mm||3.5 g||copper
|Reeded||Value, motif, year of minting, "Islamic Republic of Iran"||Fatima Masumeh Shrine||2004|
|100 rials||22.95 mm||1.36 mm||4.6 g||copper
|Reeded||Value, motif, year of minting, "Islamic Republic of Iran"||Imam Reza Shrine||2004|
|250 rials||18.8 mm||1.56 mm||2.8 g||copper
|Reeded||Value, motif, year of minting, "Islamic Republic of Iran"||Feyziyeh madrasah||2009|
|500 rials||20.8 mm||1.66 mm||3.9 g||copper
|Reeded||Value, motif, year of minting, "Islamic Republic of Iran"||Saadi's Mausoleum in Shiraz||2009|
|1000 rials||23.7 mm||1.9 mm||5.8 g||copper
|Reeded||Value, motif, year of minting, "Islamic Republic of Iran"||Khaju Bridge||2009|
|2000 rials||26.3 mm||1.76 mm||6.8 g||copper
|Reeded||Value, motif, year of minting, "Islamic Republic of Iran"||Shrine of Imam Reza||2010|
|5000 rials||29.3 mm||2 mm||10.1 g||copper
|Reeded||Value, motif, year of minting, "Islamic Republic of Iran"||Text, Fiftieth Anniversary of Foundation of the Central Bank of the Islamic Republic of Iran||2010|
|These images are to scale at 2.5 pixels per millimetre. For table standards, see the coin specification table.|
In 1932, notes were issued by the "Bank Melli Iran" in denominations of 5, 10, 20, 50, 100 and 500 rials. 1000 rial notes were introduced in 1935, followed by 200 rial notes in 1951 and 5000 and 10,000 rials 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 rials. 2000 rial notes were introduced in 1986.
They are issued by the Central Bank of Iran, each bearing the signature of the President of the Iranian Central Bank. The 100, 200 and 500 rial banknotes are becoming increasingly uncommon; shopkeepers habitually give out small packages of gum in lieu of the last 500 rials of change. For day to day means people will carry wads of 100,000's.
|1 Toman||130 × 67||Silver||Nasser al-Din Shah Qajar||Value, "Imperial State of Iran"|
|5 Tomans||136 × 69||Tan||Nasser al-Din Shah Qajar||Value, "Imperial State of Iran"|
|50 Tomans||142 × 71||Gray||Nasser al-Din Shah Qajar||Value, Lion and Sun|
|5 rials||130 × 67||Green||Reza Shah Pahlavi||Value, Lion and Sun with crown|
|10 rials||136 × 69||Brown||Reza Shah Pahlavi||Value, Lion and Sun with crown|
|20 rials||142 × 71||Purple||Reza Shah Pahlavi||Sa'dabad Palace|
|500 rials||142 × 71||Navy||Pasargadae|
|1,000 rials||148 × 73||Silver||Reza Shah Pahlavi|
|10 rials||130 × 67||Silver||Mohammad-Reza Pahlavi||Imperial seal of Darius the Great|
|10 rials||130 × 67||Silver||Mohammad-Reza Pahlavi||Avicenna Mausoleum|
|10 rials||130 × 67||Silver||Mohammad-Reza Pahlavi||Amir Kabir Dam|
|20 rials||130 × 67||Orange||Mohammad-Reza Pahlavi||Amir Kabir Dam|
|50 rials||130 × 67||Green||Mohammad-Reza Pahlavi||Mohammad-Reza Pahlavi in a public meeting|
|50 rials||130 × 67||Green||Mohammad-Reza Pahlavi||Pasargadae|
|100 rials||130 × 67||Purple||Mohammad-Reza Pahlavi||Social Services|
|100 rials||130 × 67||Purple||Mohammad-Reza Pahlavi||Marble Palace|
|100 rials||130 × 67||Purple||Reza Pahlavi and Mohammad-Reza Pahlavi||50th Anniversary of the establishment of Pahlavi Dynasty|
|200 rials||130 × 67||Blue-Green||Mohammad-Reza Pahlavi||Azadi Tower|
|1000 rials||130 × 67||Brown||Mohammad-Reza Pahlavi||Tomb of Hafez|
Imam Reza shrine Series (1980/81)
|100 rials||136 × 69||Purple||Imam Reza shrine||Chaharbagh School|
|200 rials||136 × 69||Blue-Green||Imam Reza shrine||Avicenna Mausoleum|
|500 rials||142 × 71||Brown||Imam Reza shrine||Winged horse|
|1,000 rials||148 × 73||Pink||Imam Reza shrine||Tomb of Hafez|
|5,000 rials||154 × 75||Purple||Imam Reza shrine||Tehran's Oil refinery|
|10,000 rials||160 × 77||Green||Imam Reza shrine||Old building of Parliament of Iran|
Revolutionary Series (1981/85)
|100 rials||130 × 67||Purple||Hassan Modarres||Old building of Islamic Consultative Assembly|
|200 rials||142 × 71||Grey||Jame Mosque of Yazd||Agricultural Workers|
|500 rials||142 × 71||Gray-Green||Friday prayers||University of Tehran main entrance|
|1,000 rials||148 × 73||Brown||Feyziyeh School||Dome of the Rock|
|2,000 rials||148 × 73||Purple||Liberation of Khorramshahr||Kaaba|
|5,000 rials||154 × 75||Red||Revolutionaries||Fatima Masumeh Shrine|
|10,000 rials||160 × 77||Blue||Revolutionaries||Imam Reza shrine|
Current Series (1992)
|1,000 rials||148 × 73||Brown||Ruhollah Khomeini||Dome of the Rock|
|2,000 rials||151 × 74||Onion-skin purple||Ruhollah Khomeini||Kaaba|
|5,000 rials||154 × 75||Brown-Olive||Ruhollah Khomeini||Flowers and birds|
|5,000 rials||154 × 75||Brown-Olive||Ruhollah Khomeini||Omid satellite, Safir 2 rocket, globe with the marked territory of Iran|
|5,000 rials||154 × 75||Brown-Olive||Ruhollah Khomeini||Pottery from Zabol (Eastern Iran)|
|10,000 rials||160 × 77||Green||Ruhollah Khomeini||Mount Damavand|
|20,000 rials||163 × 78||Blue||Ruhollah Khomeini||Naqsh-e Jahan Square|
|20,000 rials||163 × 78||Blue||Ruhollah Khomeini||Al-Aqsa Mosque|
|20,000 rials||163 × 78||Blue||Ruhollah Khomeini||Aghazadeh Mansion|
|50,000 rials||166 × 79||Ochre||Ruhollah Khomeini||Map of Iran with Atom symbol, quote in Persian from the prophet Mohammed ("If the science exists in this constellation, men from Persia will reach it"), and "Persian Gulf" in English|
|50,000 rials||166 × 79||Ochre||Ruhollah Khomeini||University of Tehran main entrance|
|100,000 rials||166 × 79||Light olive greenish||Ruhollah Khomeini||Saadi's Mausoleum in Shiraz|
|500,000 rials||166 × 79||Purple|
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. The 10,000 rials note remained the highest valued banknote for more than 50 years until 2005, when a 20,000 rial banknote was introduced and subsequently a 50,000 rial banknote was introduced with the subject being the Iranian nuclear energy program. The note was issued on 12 March. The note features a quote by the prophet Mohammed, translated as: "Even if knowledge is at the Pleiades, the people from the land of Persia would attain it". Banknotes currently in circulation are 100, 200, 500, 1000, 2000, 5000, 10,000, 20,000, 50,000 and 100,000 rials. After the death of Ruhollah Khomeini, his portraits were used on the obverse of 1000 rial banknotes and greater.
Currently the highest valued legal tender banknote issued by the central bank is 100,000 rials (about U.S. $2.38 on Apr. 13, 2018). However 500,000 rial and 1,000,000 rial Iran Cheques 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.
|Current IRR exchange rates|
|From Google Finance:||AUD CAD CHF EUR GBP HKD JPY USD PKR|
|From Yahoo! Finance:||AUD CAD CHF EUR GBP HKD JPY USD PKR|
|From XE:||AUD CAD CHF EUR GBP HKD JPY USD PKR|
|From OANDA:||AUD CAD CHF EUR GBP HKD JPY USD PKR|
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- Anoushiravan Ehteshami; Mahjoob Zweiri, eds. (2011). Iran's Foreign Policy: From Khatami to Ahmadinejad. Eastbourne: Sussex Academic Press. p. 134. ISBN 0863724159.
Not only is the Iranian Toman now traded there, but many Iranian goods are bought and sold throughout the southern half of Iraq.
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Iranian currency has become commonly accepted by Iraqi shopkeepers and hoteliers, according to pilgrims who recently returned to Iran. The pilgrims saw large numbers of other Iranians at the shrines of Ali and Hussain, the first and third Shia Imams.
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...a Lari pilgrim will take care to buy a chador from Lari who have shops Mecca. Similarly, the Iranian Toman is accepted currency in the holy places, and most travellers do not even bother to change money at the airport or hotel.
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They also accept Iranian currency, even those who sell on the streets. Many Arab people can speak Persian.
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...shops have Persian on their signs and sellers usually accept the Iranian rial... Walking around the small alleys surrounding the shrine of Sayida Ruqayya in the old town of Damascus, one felt as if one were in an Iranian bazaar. 'Come here, come here, two tuman, two tuman', vendors shouted in Persian to the Iranian crowds passing, trying to attract their attention. They offered clothes, ..., hagled with the pilgrims in Persian and accepted Iranian currency.
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Reason: removed from Iranian currency by National Bank
Ratio: at par
|Currency of Iran
1932 – 2020
Reason: financial reform