Printed in Britain by De la Rue, the currency swap had originally provided an opportunity for Australia to implement its polymer currency technology, until the Britons gained the contract.
A number of new images have been chosen to replace the former dictator on the new dinar notes. An ancient Islamic compass features on the new Iraqi 250 dinar banknote, while pictures of an ancient Babylonian ruler and a 10th century are also used.
While many are greeting the removal of the deposed Saddam Hussein’s face from legal tender, Iraqi financial experts are concerned about the elimination of disparity between the value of dinars used in the Kurdish-ruled north and those used in the rest of the country. It is feared that this will create difficulties with the banks’ outdated counting machines.
Iraqis have three months to turn in four trillion dinars worth of the obsolete currency in central and southern Iraq, and the older Swiss dinar notes used across the north in exchange for six new denominations ranging from 50-dinar notes to 25,000-dinar bills.
The currency swap comes as part of the US-led administration in Iraq’s orders for all images of Saddam to be removed from monuments, murals and school textbooks. However, in the months after the war, it was forced into an embarrassing back down by having to print billions of dinars of banknotes bearing the deposed dictator’s face to ease a shortage of 250-dinar notes.
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