Iran (also known as Persia) is a country with a rich history that dates back thousands of years. There are many layers to Iranian culture and history. It has been home to many different peoples throughout history. The region has also been an important location for the development of human civilization since ancient times; it was once home to some of the world’s earliest agricultural settlements as well as some of its greatest empires. Read along and we’ll go over a brief history of the country and its Rial banknotes.

Achaemenid Empire at its Greatest Territorial Extent | Source: Wikipedia

Early Empires

The Achaemenid Empire (550-330 BCE) was the first Iranian empire that unified the various tribes of Iran and established a centralized government in its territory. It existed from 550 to 330 BCE, it was founded by Cyrus the Great but, was later conquered by Alexander the Great. The Achaemenid Empire was not only the first Persian Empire but, also the largest empire in ancient history. The Sassanid Empire was the last empire before the Muslim conquest of the region. It was founded by Ardashir I in 224 AD.

Portrait of Mohammad Reza Pahlavi | Source: Wikipedia

Modern Iran begins with the Pahlavi dynasty, which was founded in 1925 by Reza Shah. It was led by Reza Shah until 1941 when his son Mohammad Reza Pahlavi took over and became king of Iran. The country went through an Islamic Revolution in 1979 that brought Ayatollah Khomeini to power. Ayatollah Khomeini instituted an Islamic government based on Sharia law and religious principles. He believed that Islam was a complete set of laws for all areas of life, including politics, economics, and society. In addition, the United States has had strained diplomatic relations with Iran since this time period due to political differences between both nations’ governments over topics such as human rights abuses and nuclear energy development.

Iran 200 Rial | 1974 | Source: Banknote World Educational

The Iran Rial Banknotes

The currency of Iran is the Rial was introduced in 1932, it replaced the previous Qiran currency family. After the 1979 Revolution it has gone through drastic devaluation. An example of the banknotes before the revolution is the Iran 200 Rials, 1974. Colored in blue and green, featuring Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi the last Shah of Iran on its obverse side. While the reverse features an image of Azadi Square. This family of banknotes was the last to feature the Shah and it circulated from 1942 until 1978 with denominations ranging from 10 Rials all the way until 10,000 Rials.

Iran 50,000 Rials | 2006 | Source: Banknote World Educational

Then came the Imam Reza Shrine Series which circulated from 1980–1982 and It did not feature images of any person. The in the 90’s banknote featuring Ayatollah Khomeini started to circulate these range from denominations of 1,000 all the way until 100,000. However in 2019 there was a plan to redenominate the currency, and remove 4 zeros. They will also go by the name “Toman”. These banknotes also come as cheques and the latest and largest denomination is 2 Million Rials / 200 Toman’s and it’s from 2023.

Iran 2 Million Rials Cheque (200 Tomans) | 2023 | Source: Banknote News / Yavar Parhizi

Sources / Credits

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