Recent media reports suggest that the government of Iran is forging ahead with efforts to develop a national cryptocurrency. That news comes as the threat of renewed U.S. sanctions looms larger in the wake of President Donald Trump’s decision to leave the non-treaty Iran nuclear deal negotiated by the previous U.S. administration. Iran’s increasing interest in a state cryptocurrency is at least partially intended to evade those sanctions.
The plan was “already on the agenda of the Directorate for Scientific and Technological Affairs of the Presidential Office,” according to a July 25th report from Press TV. Directorate management and investment affairs deputy Alireza Daliri told Iran’s state media that the country has the knowledge base needed to create its own cryptocurrency, and that Iranian companies are cooperating with the Central Bank on the project.
Daliri announced the news, claiming, “We are trying to prepare the grounds to use a domestic digital currency in the country. This currency would facilitate the transfer of money (to and from) anywhere in the world. Besides, it can help us at the time of sanctions.”
Iran is anticipating a new round of sanctions, including a total ban on acquisition of U.S. dollars that is expected to be imposed in August, and restrictions on sales of its crude oil and investment in its energy sector which will go into effect by November.