The launch of the new 5,000 touman bill has become highly controversial for having replaced the symbol of atomic energy with a view of the Tehran University gates and a famous Ferdowsi verse that translates: “True power derives from wisdom and through knowledge old hearts are rendered young again.”

Old 5000 touman bill

Old 5000 touman bill

The symbol of atomic energy was placed on the 5,000 touman bill in 2008 during the administration of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad with a saying attributed to the Prophet Mohammad: “Even if knowledge is hidden somewhere in space, men from the land of Pars will discover it”.

Iranian hardliners have interpreted the change as a mark of capitulation in the nuclear negotiations. Some have even referred to it as treasonous and insulting to the nuclear martyrs, referring to Iranian nuclear scientists who have been assassinated in recent years in operations that Iranian authorities attribute to Israel.

The Central Bank has played down the controversy and explained that the new image on the 5,000 touman bill is in celebration of Tehran University’s 80th anniversary and the background images are symbols of the various departments of the university. They also add that the verse from Ferdowsi is a mark of Iran’s historic regard for science and the pursuit of knowledge.

The Central Bank reports that the new bill will come into circulation this spring.