Iran Bans Banks from Dealing in Cryptos
According to a Reuters report, the Central Bank of Iran has banned the banks and other financial institutions in the country from dealing in cryptocurrencies. The bank cited money-laundering concerns to be the prime reason behind this decision.
According to IRNA, a state-run news agency:
“Banks and credit institutions and currency exchanges should avoid any sale or purchase of these currencies or taking any action to promote them.”
Radio Liberty/ Radio Free Europe, cited from the December circular which the Iranian government released:
“All cryptocurrencies have the capacity to be turned into a means for money-laundering and financing terrorism and in general can be turned into a means for transferring criminals’ money.”
The news comes in just a few weeks before the country might have a renewal of the US sanctions (supposed to be happening on May 12). As the country braces itself for the renewal, the national currency, Iranian Rial (IRR), has plunged down significantly. Currently 1 USD= 42,004.50 IRR.
According to the news reports from Reuters, Iran has unified its open market and official exchange rates and has also banned people from exchanging money outside of the banks. The actions are a desperate attempt by the government to halt currency slumps in the future.
Iran has toughened its stance towards cryptocurrencies notably in February 2018, when the reports by the local media agencies said that the Central Bank of Iran intends to control the digital currencies since it finds them highly risky and unreliable.
Much like the other countries which have banned banks from trading in cryptocurrencies (like India and Pakistan), Iran is planning to issue its own state-backed digital currency. Many people view this as a response to Iran’s crippling international sanctions.