Pictured: 2,000-rial note, acquired in Tehran in 1999
This Iranian note is steeped in the symbolism of Tehran’s eight-year long war with Iraq. It shows a band of victorious soldiers, including one on the far right hoisting a Soviet Kalashnikov in the air and one in the center clutching a portrait of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini. On the far left is watermark visage of a youthful shaheed or martyr (only visible to the naked eye).
After Saddam Hussein was toppled in early 2003 and a Shiite-led government came to power there, Iran’s Central Bank issued a new 2,000-rial note. The new note replaced the jubilant Iranian fighters with yet another portrait of a glowering Ayatollah Khomeini, reflecting the new political reality of a pro-Shiite, post-Arab nationalist Baghdad amenable to deep Iranian influence.
*All notes courtesy of the author’s private collection.