According to the Central Bank of Iran (CBI) which is one the country’s principal market regulators, Iran’s financial businesses should not deal in bitcoin or other digital currencies.
Dreading the possible illegal use of cryptocurrencies in terrorist financing and money laundering, the country’s central bank sent out a circular on Sunday to ban the use of the technology in financial institutions, reports from the country’s national news agency state. The statement, made public on April 23, was passed by Iran’s anti-money laundering organization last December.
The publication states:
“Cryptocurrencies can be used for supporting terrorism, money laundering, and exchange of money between wrongdoers.”
According to the announcement, credit institutions, banks, and currency exchanges must now avoid the sale or acquisition of digital currencies, as well as doing anything to support or promote them.
It remains unclear to what degree the central bank can bar domestic cryptocurrency activities considering both the availability of the technology and the positive opinions held by some government officials.
Iran’s Minister for Information and Communications Technology, for instance, announced in February, that Iran’s central bank is creating a digital currency that would be regulated by the state government.
Last November, the secretary of Iran’s cyberspace authority went so far as to state the country “welcomes” bitcoin, given that proper regulations are in place.
And earlier, Central banker Naser Hakimi, deputy director of new technologies, said in November that the CBI is analyzing bitcoin and that it proposes a comprehensive review of its policies in this space.
However, his comments were focused on the “uncertainty” and “risk” brought about by digital currency speculation in the financial market.