Truck Carrying 117 Cryptocurrency Miners Seized in Iran

Samuel Haig

Iranian police have seized a truck carrying over 100 cryptocurrency miners. Despite recently legitimizing cryptocurrency mining as an authorized activity, the Iranian regime is yet to issue any licenses for importing mining hardware.

Truck Driver Arrested

On July 31, Iranian officers of the Saveh Police Department's Anti-Trafficking Police announced the seizure of a truck that was carrying 117 cryptocurrency miners after receiving a tip. The seized miners were valued at IRR 11.70 billion (approximately $351,000).

According to local media outlet, Fars News Agency Arak, citing Sardar Kiomars Azizi Police News Agency, “the implementation of operational police measures” allowed the vehicle to be “identified on the old axis of Saveh-Hamedan and confiscated during the operation."

He added: “The driver of the car was arrested in this operation and was referred to the Judicial Authority for filing.”

Iran Approves Cryptocurrency Mining as Industrial Activity

The news comes shortly after Iran’s Ministry of Industry, Mine, and Trade announced the authorization of cryptocurrency mining as a legitimate industrial activity. The new regulatory regime will see crypto mining taxed the same as other industrial activities, however, miners will be exempt from taxation when exporting the crypto assets generated. T

he governor of the Central Bank of Iran, Abdol Nasser Hemmati, emphasized the importance of feeding the “mined currencies [...] back [in]to the national economic cycle.” Miners will be charged the same rate as purchasers of the country’s electricity exports, $0.07 per kilowatt-hour - three and a half times the rate that miners currently pay.

No License for Miner Importation Issued by the Iranian Regime Yet

Despite Iran’s new-found permissive stance concerning cryptocurrency mining, the country does not appear to have issued any licenses allowing the importation of mining hardware, as per Tehran-based Mehr News Agency.

While the report noted that the Islamic Republic of Iran Customs Administration (IRICA) has established a tariff for the importation of miners, IRICA deputy president, Jamal Arounaghi, noted that IRICA has established tariffs for numerous illegal goods, stating: “for example, some psychotropic or psychedelic drugs have tariff line in IRICA.”

The lack of licenses issued was seen as a strategy to mitigate the sudden surge in crypto mining activity experienced in Iran, with the country’s power provider attributed a 7% year-over-year rise in electricity consumption during the month of June to an “unusual increase” in “the activity of bitcoin miners.” The following month, Iran’s Minister for Information and Communications Technology, Mohammad Javad Azari Jahromi, stated:

“The business of ‘mining’ is not forbidden in law but the government and the Central Bank have ordered the Customs Bureau to ban the import of [miners] until new regulations are introduced.”