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Iran plans to lop off zeros from currency - Ahmadinejad

An Iranian man holds a new 50,000 rial banknote, imprinted with a nuclear symbol, in Tehran March 4, 2007. REUTERS/Stringer/Files

TEHRAN (Reuters) - Iran plans to remove zeros from its national currency, the rial, in order to make its value “real”, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was quoted as saying on Wednesday.

Ahmadinejad, quoted by the semi-official Mehr News Agency, did not say when this may happen nor give other details. A 1,000 rial note is currently worth about 10 U.S. cents.

The president, whose disputed re-election in June plunged the Islamic Republic into turmoil, faced criticism during his first four-year term for failing to curb rising inflation in the major oil producer.

But the official inflation rate has declined over the last year, from a peak of nearly 30 percent in late 2008 to less than 10 percent now.

“We are supposed to remove zeros (from the rial) to make its value real,” Ahmadinejad said. “We have to return its value to the one existing in the law,” he said, without elaborating. (Writing by Fredrik Dahl; editing by Ron Askew)