Iran’s central bank says officially mined crypto can be used to pay for imports

Iran is continuing to explore the potential use of cryptocurrency as a tool for mitigating the devastating impact of economic sanctions imposed by the United States.

According to a report from the English-language Iranian economic news source Financial Tribune, the Central Bank of Iran, or CBI, is authorizing banks and licensed forex shops to use cryptocurrency as payments for imports.

Under its regulatory framework, the cryptocurrency must derive from licensed crypto miners only. These mining operations are officially permitted by the Iranian state as an industrial activity and require operators to secure a license from Ministry of Industry, Mine and Trade.

As Financial Tribune reports, the Iranian government ratified regulations that would enable crypto to be used legally for imports in Oct. 2020, provided that miners sell their coins directly to the CBI. Indeed, the strategy appears to have been several years in the making, with a 2018 report from Iranian think tank Majlis Research Center statin:

“According to experts, one way to avoid the adverse effects of the unjust sanctions is to use cryptocurrencies for foreign trade.”

In January of this year,  Shahab Javanmardi, a member of the Iran Chamber of Commerce Industries Mining and Agriculture, or ICCIMA, advocated for the government to use cryptocurrency to help counter trade difficulties in a tough geopolitical climate. Venezuela, another country hit by U.S. sanctions, provides an example for a prior attempt to use cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin (BTC) as payment for imports from Iran and Turkey. Javanmardi reportedly said:

“Repatriating revenue from exporting gas and electricity is not possible under the present [U.S. sanctions]. The government can promote use of excess electricity output or power generated by small-scale plants to mine cryptocurrencies and make up for the locked resources.”

Javanmardi proposed creating a central market, similar to the secondary forex market, through which…

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