U.S. Is Working to Stop Iran From Mining Cryptocurrencies, Iranian Official Claims

Iran’s assistant minister of industry, trade, and supply Saeed Zarandi has recently claimed the United States is looking to stop Iran from mining cryptocurrencies like bitcoin.

According to local news outlet Al-Fars, Zarandi claimed the U.S. Congress believes cryptocurrencies are a tool that can be used to evade sanctions and launder money, and is therefore working to “prevent the production of digital currency in Iran.”

Commenting on how cryptocurrencies are perceived in the country, Zarandi noted that several Iranian ministries are working with the country’s central bank to settle the issue. As covered, last year the U.S. Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) bashed Iran for allegedly using cryptocurrencies to evade sanctions.

At the time, the organization admitted the use of cryptocurrencies was “comparatively small” in the country, identifying “at least $3.8 million worth of bitcoin-denominated transactions per year” from the country since 2013.

Earlier this year, Iran’s central bank announced the launch of a national gold-backed cryptocurrency called PayMon. Details on the cryptocurrency and its use are scarce, although during an interview the founder of Iranian blockchain company ArzDigital revealed it’s based on the Stellar Lumens (XLM) network.

Tensions between the U.S. and Iran have been rising over the last few weeks. Last month Iran downed a U.S. drone claiming it entered its airspace. The country, at the time, claimed it would defend its borders with “all our might.” U.S. President Donald Trump, after being briefed, claimed the country made a “very big mistake.”

Trump reportedly called off a planned attack on Iran soon after, as it would’ve allegedly killed 150 civilians. The rising tensions have, according to some analysts, been good for BTC, as the cryptocurrency hit new highs when things got tense.

It’s unclear whether Iran itself is cryptocurrency-friendly, however. While it has unveiled a gold-backed cryptocurrency, recent reports suggest it confiscated over 1,000 bitcoin mining machines, and announcements from the Ministry of Energy suggest its planning to cut off power to cryptocurrency mining operations taking advantage of subsidized energy.