Banking & Money in Iran
It is recommended you bring US dollar notes (in good condition and printed after 1996) for any travel to Iran or alternatively Euros also in good condition and in higher denominations. UK Pounds are more difficult to exchange.
Banks and moneychangers favor US dollar 100 and 100 Euro notes.
International credit and debit cards cannot be used in Iran since the US trade embargo on the country. Visitors cannot draw cash on credit or bank cards (such as Cirrus or Maestro). Iran does have a network of ATMs but these are for use with locally-issued bank cards such as the Haj Card or Melli Card issued by Bank Melli.
Banks that will be able to perform currency exchange include Bank Melli (BMI). Bank Melli can exchange foreign currency up to 2000 USD or it's equivalent on other major currencies for each passport holder and each companion of the passport holder or up to 2000 Euro for the same purpose per transaction.
Other banks where you might be able to exchange foreign currency include: Bank Mellat, Bank Saderat, Bank Sepah and Bank Tejarat. Look out for an English-language sign.
Visitors may consider purchasing Iranian traveler's cheques with their rials while in Iran as they are lighter than carrying cash and can be exchanged at any bank.
Changing your money at moneychangers is quicker than using banks and involves less paperwork. Look out for English-language signs saying "Exchange" or "Currency". Changing money on the street is not particularly recommended.
Transferring Money To Iran
If for some reason you run out of money in Iran (robbery, loss etc), you will need to seek out a central branch of Bank Melli with your passport and arrange for a friend back home to make a transfer to that branch of Bank Melli using its Swift code, your full name and passport details. Bank Melli has branches in London, Hong Kong, Paris, Moscow, Dubai, Hamburg, Baghdad, Muscat, Baku, Abu Dhabi, Fujairah, Ras-Al-Khaimah and Sharjah and a number of foreign banks have affiliated agreements with it in such places as Kabul and Bahrain. Many European, Indian and Japanese banks provide service to Iranian banks including Bank Melli.