Iranian lawmakers press for friendly cryptocurrency regulations amid sanctions

Key Takeaways

  • Members of Iranian parliament have opposed crypto restrictions in the country
  • The parliament’s Economic Commission conducted a study and came up with new recomendations recomendations
  • As per the Commission, allowing cryptocurrency mining will help Iran fight international sanctions

YEREVAN (CoinChapter.com) — Lawmakers in the Iranian parliament, the Majlis, have pressed for friendly cryptocurrency regulations in the country. The call comes amid concerns that the Islamic Republic has imposed restrictive policies on the industry.

Sighting a study done by the Majlis Economic Commission, the lawmakers called on the Iranian regime to change its attitude and approach towards cryptocurrency. 

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Iranian parliamentary standing committee supports cryptocurrencies

The Majlis Economic Commission conducted a thorough study on cryptocurrency mining. Upon its completion, it recommended the Iranian Government adopt a new approach to the cryptocurrency industry as a means of improving the ailing economy. 

Faced with tough international sanctions, Iran has been grilling under mass inflations. The restrictions have halted economic development and have even hampered the fight against the deadly Covid 19 pandemic. 

According to the report, cryptocurrency mining would help get around international sanctions. 

Alleging the Energy Ministry’s delays in making good on its financial commitments to investors has caused problems for the private sector, the report claims the Iranian energy sector, which faces many hurdles, will also stand to benefit. 

“Lifting current restrictions can help promote the power industry,” 

the report reads. 

Calling on to the Government to boost private-sector investments, the commission also claimed cryptocurrency mining could help “meet the demand of households” At the same time, it called for transparency in the dealings between the country’s power suppliers and crypto miners.

For those crypto miners that prefer to buy electricity from the Government, the commission suggested supplying them with subsidized rates in exchange for mined cryptocurrencies.

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Iran’s war on cryptocurrency mining 

In May this year, Iran imposed a ban on cryptocurrency mining in the country amid regular power cuts in capital Tehran and many major cities.  

At the time, there were about 50 licensed miners in the country. Faced with natural gas shortages, the Government blamed the electricity shortages on the cryptocurrency mining industry, which allegedly uses a total of 209 megawatts of power. The ban came into force immediately, with September 22 set as the initial end date.

In January, law enforcement in Iran confiscated nearly 50,000 bitcoin mining machines accused of using subsidized electricity illegally. The illegal miners had allegedly been consuming 95 megawatts per hour at cheap state-subsidized rates.

The Iranian authorities did not limit themselves to miners. They went one step ahead, cracking down on local crypto exchanges.

Despite the Government restrictions, lawmakers came up with a draft law in July which called on the authorities to allow crypto mining and regulate the industry.

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Iran’s president calls US sanctions ‘crimes against humanity’

Iran’s ultra-conservative president Ebrahim Raisi hit back at the ongoing US sanctions on Iran today. Raisi was speaking in a pre-recorded address sent to the UN General Assembly.

This being his first appearance on a major international platform, Raisi used the opportunity to denounce the US Government, claiming it uses sanctions to wage wars against nations. 

Faced with difficulty accessing medication and vaccines, Raisi claimed US sanctions “were crimes against humanity during the coronavirus pandemic”.

Meanwhile, the spokesman of the Majlis Economic Commission, Gholamreza Marhaba, claimed Iran is losing out on revenue by failing to regulate cryptocurrency mining. 

Talking about the results of the research conducted by the commission, Marhaba invokes statistics to back his commission’s recommendations.

“Our studies show that 50% of crypto activities are in the informal market. This is while supportive regulations can help enhance contribution of the digital currency to the economy,” 

he claimed.

Before the crackdown, Iran was among the top 10 countries for cryptocurrency mining. According to blockchain analytics firm Elliptic, around 4.5% of all bitcoin mining globally between January and April of 2021 took place in Iran. 

Meanwhile, the popularity of cryptocurrencies is increasing. Iran could use the opportunity to cash in on the benefits provided by the industry to propel economic growth. 

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