The currency of Iran is the Iranian Rial (IRR). The current Rial was introduced in 1932 and has been the official currency ever since. The Rial is one of the world’s most volatile currencies and also one of the worst valued.
Notes of Iran
Notes of the Iranian Rial come in 1000, 2000, 5000, 10,000, 20,000, 50,000, 100,000, 500,000 and 1 million.
Coins of Iran
Due to hyperinflation, coins are rarely seen in Iran. Hypothetically they have coins in 50, 100, 250, 500, 1000, 2000 and 5000 Rials but considering the black-market exchange rate is well over 300,000 rials to 1 USD, you’re unlikely to come across them.
For those interested in collecting coins, souvenir shops will actually sell these coins, above their face value of course.
ATMs are everywhere in Iran, but the catch is you can’t use them. Due to sanctions, foreign cards don’t work in Iran, so you’ll need to make sure you have all your spending money in cash. Most transactions in Iran now happen via card and some places don’t even accept cash, causing problems for foreign tourists. Luckily Iranians are always happy to help and in those situations you can give someone else the cash and they can pay for you on their card.
The black market is the market in Iran, unlike some countries where you need to go down dark alleys to get a better rate, you’ll receive the black-market rate at all official exchange shops. The Rial has depreciated significantly in recently years and is now roughly 320,000 rials to 1 USD. With that being said, by the time you read this it will be a completely different amount.
Can you use foreign currencies in Iran?
Of course for larger purchases, accommodation or tour costs, USD can usually be used, however for day to day purchases you will need to use the local currency. If you tried to buy a coke or dinner with a foreign currency you’ll most likely get refused.
The exchange rate is impossible to follow in Iran as it is constantly changing. Asking locals is one great way to find out what the rate is, while there are also several websites which advertise the black market rate. Don’t bother with your mainstream websites like xe.com as they only seem to show the official rate which is currently about 47,000 rials to 1 USD, about an 8 th of the real rate.
Tomans make paying for things in Iran very difficult. One Toman is 10,000 rials and prices can be listed in either Rials or Tomans with no real consensus on when each is used. Often someone will be asking for 100, when in fact they mean 100,000 Tomans (1 million Rials). Obviously use common sense that if something seems extremely cheap, chances are it’s Tomans they’re talking in, but this can be confusing. Is this handicraft $10 or $100? It really could be either!
The Iranian government has recently announced that in the future they will be replacing the Rial permanently with the Toman and changing the currency’s official name.
You can read more about Tomans here .