Iraq's Central Bank denies it is set to print Zaha Hadid banknotes

Iraq's Central Bank denies it is set to print Zaha Hadid banknotes
Central Bank of Iraq denies Zaha Hadid note. / bne IntelliNews
By bne Gulf bureau May 26, 2024

The Central Bank of Iraq (CBI) has had to defend itself after reports on social media reported it was producing new banknotes with famous Iraqi-born architect Zaha Hadid on them, Shafaq reported.

The Central Bank of Iraq stated that the new banknote circulating on social media is currently going viral, is “fake,” and has not been produced.

The bank also urged the people of Iraq to be cautious and avoid using counterfeit money if spotted without finding the source of the image.

The bank reassessed that they have no plans to introduce a new IQD100,000 Hadid banknote and is warning people who spread these currencies of legal action for spreading forgery.

It later turned out that the Hadid note was part of a university project by students at the Institute of Fine Arts in Mosul. This design of a famous long-dead architect was released by students, along with another note from Iraqi Emperor Harun al-Rashid.

Despite the denial, the release of the faux note has raised debate about the lack of representation of women on banknotes in the region, despite the fact many are openly praised by incumbent administrations. Similar arguments are made in neighbouring Iran, about its famous scientists and other famous women following the so-called "Mahsa Amini protests."

Hadid does have connections with the Central Bank of Iraq, having been commissioned to design a new building for the bank.

Commissioned in 2010 to design the project, and presented in 2011, construction was delayed due to the security situation in the country, and began in 2018, it has a cost of $772,000,000.

The tower aims to become Iraq's second tallest building after the E1 tower in Erbil, in the Kurdistan region.

Hadid has become famous in the region and her birthplace in Iraq being commissioned to design several well-known buildings in Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Iran, and Azerbaijan, to name a few projects.

Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev contracted Zaha Hadid's firm to design a one-of-a-kind entertainment centre commemorating his late father for a sizeable fee of $250mn in the capital, Baku.