Iran’s president sent a bill to parliament on Wednesday. The bill would cut four zeroes from the value of the Islamic Republic’s currency, the rial. If passed by parliament and approved by lawmakers, the move will eventually mean a new name for the country’s money.
In the midst of the money debate, tensions remain high between Tehran and Washington. President Donald Trump pulled out of Tehran’s nuclear deal with world powers over a year ago.
Mounting U.S. trade bans have battered Iran’s economy. The United States has imposed sanctions over the country’s nuclear program—in part because of Western fears that Tehran could build a nuclear weapon.
Iran denies having any ambitions to build atomic bombs. Other U.S. sanctions stem back to Iran’s 1979 Islamic Revolution and the takeover of the U.S. Embassy in Tehran. (For more information on these events, read “Iranian Revolution Anniversary.”)
By sending the bill to lawmakers, President Hassan Rouhani’s government shows it is serious about an idea pondered for some time in Iran: changing from rials to tomans. A toman is worth 10 rials. Iran’s National Bank would have two years to create the new toman currency.
It’s unlikely parliament will consider Rouhani’s request any time soon. The request carries a low-urgency level. That means parliament has up to two years, or until 2021, to consider and possibly approve the bill.
Nasim Souran, a Tehran-based financial journalist, says the proposal was part of Rouhani’s policies to help the nation deal with increasing prices.
“This move can psychologically affect the lower-class people because they might feel that the value of their money has shrunk,” says Rahman Fatehi, who works in a restaurant in Tehran. But he adds, “The current situation will remain unchanged.”
(A man counts banknotes and traveler checks in Tehran, Iran, Wednesday, Aug. 21, 2019. AP Photo/Ebrahim Noroozi)