From toman to rial back to toman: Iran contemplates change to currency

Change will eliminate some confusion since most in country use ‘tomans’
By , Special to Coin World
Published : 12/26/16
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Pending parliamentary approval, the Central Bank of Iran will change the official Iranian monetary unit from rial back to toman as it replaces all the nation’s current bank notes with a new currency series. The decision was made in a cabinet meeting on Dec. 7, says the Financial Tribune, an Iranian English-language daily. The process will include removing one zero from the rial, of which 32,250 equal $1 in U.S. funds.

The change will eliminate some confusion. While “rial” is used as Iran’s monetary unit in government documents, budgets, and on the currency itself, the term “toman” is used more commonly in daily transactions. Prices of goods are mostly marked in rials, 10 of which equal one toman. If a price is marked “10,000 rials,” it will be spoken as “1,000 tomans.” Officially, the rial contains 100 dinars.

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Printing of the new tomans should begin next year, but the old currency will continue to be used simultaneously. It is also still possible, the Tribune says, that more than one zero will be lopped off the rial. Either way, the bank confirmed that it is highly likely that there will be a complete reprint of all Iranian notes. The current series consists of 1,000-, 2,000-, 5,000-, 10,000-, 20,000-, 50,000- and 100,000-rial notes. All have Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini on the face.

The toman has been a part of Iran’s currency system for centuries. Between 1798 and 1825, it equaled 8 rials, which in turn were worth 1,250 dinars each. The monetary system of 1825 to 1931 saw the introduction of the qiran, worth 1,000 dinars. Ten qirans equaled a toman.

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