Economy, Business And Markets

50,000-Rial Banknote Draws Debate

50,000-Rial Banknote Draws Debate50,000-Rial Banknote Draws Debate

A media outlet has criticized the unveiling of a new reverse for the 50,000-rial banknote on Monday, initiating a response by the central bank.

A new 50,000-rial banknote was unveiled on the 80th anniversary of the approval of the Tehran University’s charter, replacing the nuclear energy sign with a depiction of University of Tehran’s (UT) main gate.

“Elimination of the nuclear energy sign from 50,000-rial note!” made Kayhan’s headline last week.

Previously, the 50,000-rial note depicted a map of Iran with an emblem of an atom in its middle and the inscription of a saying by Prophet Mohammad: “Men from Persia will acquire knowledge even if it is on Pleiades – star cluster.”

The note celebrated the acquisition of nuclear enrichment technology by Iranian scientists and advertised the importance of knowledge and science. It also triggered nationalistic pride.

The central bank responded by saying as a sign of the importance of knowledge and science, University of Tehran is the sign to have, as it is Iran’s foremost university and its main gate has become the symbol of higher education. Also, it is customary by the central bank to mark important events by depicting them on banknotes. UT’s 80th anniversary is one such event.

The University of Tehran is Iran’s oldest modern university. Based on its historical, socio-cultural and political pedigree, as well as its research and teaching profile, UT has been nicknamed “The mother university of Iran” and its gates are the symbol of higher education in Iran. It is almost always ranked as the best university in Iran in national and international rankings.

Furthermore, the new note has a poem by Ferdowsi – celebrated as one of the most influential Persian poets of all time and known for reviving and regenerating the Persian language and cultural traditions – saying: “Thy source of might is knowledge, education makes old hearts grow young again.”

Kayhan had also criticized the note because University of Tehran gates are also depicted on the reverse of the old Iranian 500-rial note. Contending that as the 500-rial note and even coins have fallen out of main stream usage, depicting the gates on the 50,000-rial note has a “psychological effect”.

The 50,000-rial notes are the second largest note in circulation.