In response to the increasing circulation of banknotes scribbled with anti-government slogans (read Iranians shift protest movement to banknotes), the Central Bank of Iran said this week that it would no longer accept graffitied banknotes as valid currency.
Since the beginning of the Iranian Green Movement (the ink on the banknotes is often green, and the colour symbolizes the official colour of the opposition), the government has been struggling to deal with the rise of this covert protest movement.
At the beginning of December, The Pro-Democracy Movement of Iran deemed the Green Movement a success saying, “the Central Bank of Iran has tried to take these banknotes out of circulation, but there are just too many of them.”
The Central Bank is now telling people to exchange their graffitied banknotes for “clean” notes by January 8, 2010. After this period, any banknote with writing on it will be considered invalid.
The slogans on the banknotes oppose the recent reelection of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in what many, including Iranian reformist leader Mir Hossein Mousavi, have deemed a “rigged election” at the hands of the government.
Since June, banknotes have been in circulation with messages like “In this country, only the government has freedom of speech. Don’t believe anything you hear,” “Khanmenei the dictator, Ahmadinejad the puppet” and “Death to the Dictator.”
The Green Movement has also reverted to other subtle protest tactics like spray painting on walls and using a rarely observed religious holiday for a three-day strike.