Iran’s Ministry of Industry, Mine and Trade is close to finalizing a document that paves the way for legitimizing cryptocurrency mining for local and foreign citizens in the foreseeable future, according to an article in Bitcoinmagazine.com attributed to Maziar Motamedi, a Tehran-based journalist who covers Iran. In early August 2019, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and his cabinet issued a directive that recognised cryptocurrency mining as an industry for the first time and defined general tenants. This is the first time that the state has spoken about this ecosystem – previously miners were operating without any state supervision. The government of Iran will provide an ID and work with investors with the establishment of licenses for which last for 12 months, and can be renewed after the owner provides project progress reports.
In an effort to destigmatize cryptocurrencies, a researcher, Hamed Salehi, believes that the document and overall government regulations are significant for the local community. There were no regulations aimed specifically at cryptocurrencies in Iran until April 2018, when the Supreme Council of Anti-Money Laundering directed the central bank of publish a directive, barring all financial institutions from handling cryptocurrencies. However, there seems to be a view that these actions are too little, too late. Some large-scale professional cryptocurrency and mining businesses are now leaving Iran and setting up facilities in Russia, Georgia, Armenia and Iraq. Imagine that, investing in Iraq because it has a more supportive and safe environment than Iran. History tells us that leaving Iran is something that takes place every couple of centuries – when things get bad. So the view from our position is that the crypto business could be a way to move capital from Tehran and Isfahan to safer areas, maybe in case of social or political shocks that could be on the way.