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Iran issues bank note with ‘phantom’ zeros to mark transition to new currency

To signify a transition to the new currency, Iran’s Central Bank has launched a new “phantom zeros” version of the most frequently-used bank note in the country.

According to the Central Bank of Iran (CBI), new design of the note signifies Iran’s ongoing move toward toman, the new currency which will be equal to 10,000 rials once it is introduced in Iran in early 2022.

Four zeros on CBI’s new 100,000 rials note were light-hued, a picture of the note circulating in the local media on Wednesday showed.

A law endorsed by the previous Iranian parliament in May stipulated that a full transition to toman would need at least two years to allow markets and businesses to adapt to the new situation.

CBI chief Abdolnasser Hemmati said recently that printing bank notes with four pale zeroes had already started with a change of design applied to large denomination currency bills.  

“The plan to slash four zeroes is being pursued in the new parliament but the CBI would print zeroes in a light-hued form in the new notes it prints so that it could symbolize a transition.” said Hemmati.

Toman is still used as the popular denomination currency in Iran less than a century after it was dropped in favor of the rial. The popular toman is equal to 10 rials, much lower in value compared to the toman that is planned to be circulated.

Government authorities have repeatedly insisted that introducing a higher currency would only serve to simplify administrative and financial processes and it has nothing to do with efforts to contain inflation in the country.

The rial rebounded against international currencies in early November and after the presidential elections in the United States.

Investors hope the rial would further gain amid speculations that a new US government would start to lift sanctions from Iran as it plans to return to a nuclear deal that was abandoned in 2018 by the incumbent administration in Washington.   

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