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Armed with a plastic bag of cash, the Iraqi businessman walked into an estate agency in Baghdad to buy a new house with his savings.
The wads of money that Haider Azzawi handed over provided a striking symbol of the emerging Iraq: they were not US dollars, the currency used for big purchases since the 2003 invasion — the seller did not want them. He wanted local currency, so Mr Azzawi handed over 125 million Iraqi dinar (£51,000).
The exchange is explained partly by the weak dollar, but it also speaks of the renewed confidence in Iraq's future, fuelled by improved security and families who had fled the sectarian violence beginning to return.