Last week, the Central Bank of Iraq announced the circulation of new banknotes featuring stronger security features in both small and large denominations to make counterfeiting more difficult.
According to Ihsan Shamran al-Yasseri, the CBI’s treasury director, there is not much difference in the old and new notes except for the safer, more effective technical specifications of the latter. He said security symbols and technical characteristics will provide not only longer life but will make the notes nearly impossible to fake.
Among the new features added to the regular colored strands are a 1mm colored ribbon guarantee thread for the smaller denominations and 4mm for the notes of greater value. More features are not visible to the naked eye but are seen by scanners, added al-Yasseri. Another security addition that is world-recognized is an optical feature called SPARK.
Other features include raised dots to help those with vision issues. A protective film is also added to prevent deterioration due to constant exchange of the notes as they circulate to help them last up to 10 years as opposed to the usual 3 to 5 years.
Current notes soon to be replaced
About 5 trillion Iraqi dinars ($4.3 billion USD) will circulate along with the old notes, said al-Yasseri, gradually replacing the older issues. He added that for now, both old and new notes will circulate side-by-side.
Economist Bassem Jameel Antoine views the reprints of the Iraqi currency as a “necessary requirement”. He told Mawtani that the current notes in circulation are overused and the new notes containing new security features will be more effective against constant circulation and forgery attempts. These currency defenses are used worldwide against counterfeiting and tampering, he added. He also said that it is important that the public understands the new features and the technologies behind it to promote the circulation of the reprinted version.
Iraqi parliament’s economic committee MP Ibrahim al-Rikaby agrees that this will help achieve currency reform hence their support of the old notes replacement. He stated that the step will help strengthen the Iraqi dinar against other world currencies, make the currency easy to carry and circulate in banking transactions, selling and buying operations as well as in currency exchange.