Authorities in Iran are preparing to allow the employment of cryptocurrencies for international settlements. According to local media, central banks and government officials have given the green light to adopt a mechanism using digital coins in the field of foreign trade.
Iranian companies will be allowed to use cryptocurrencies in settlements with partners in other countries, local media reported. An agreement to that end has been reached by the Central Bank of Iran (CBI) and the Ministry of Industries, Mining, and Trade. Quoted by the Financial Tribune, the head of the Trade Promotion Organization of Iran, Alireza Peyman Pak, announced:
We are finalizing a mechanism for operations of the system. This should provide new opportunities for importers and exporters to use cryptos in their international deals.
According to the Iranian news agency IBENA, Pak, who is also deputy minister of trade, took to social media to provide details about the first meeting of a joint foreign exchange working group between his department and the CBI. The participants approved a number of measures to facilitate Iran’s foreign trade, including the adoption of the crypto mechanism.
A follow-up report quotes the same official as saying that the Trade Ministry will produce a plan within two weeks for the use of locally mined cryptocurrencies and coins acquired by private companies to pay for the import of goods. The initial proposal comes from the Central Bank of Iran.
Pak emphasized that cryptocurrencies and blockchain systems have many practical applications and if Iran ignores them, it will lose business opportunities. “In some of our target markets, especially in countries such as Iraq, Afghanistan or Pakistan, there may be restrictions on using cryptocurrencies, but in our major markets such as Russia, China, India and Southeast Asia, using cryptocurrencies is common.
Besides mining, which was legalized in 2019, Iran’s crypto space remains largely unregulated. In April, the Central Bank of Iran (CBI) authorized domestic banks and money exchangers to use locally minted digital coins to pay for imports to the sanctioned nation. However, Tehran authorities have been going after crypto trading and payments in the country.
Cryptocurrencies have enjoyed growing popularity in the Islamic Republic, with up to 12 million Iranians holding one coin or another, according to a recent estimate. Some officials have opposed restrictive policies, insisting these could push innovations underground. Limitations will deprive the nation of opportunities, Iranian fintech warned in May, pointing out that local companies have managed to bypass the economic blockade with crypto transactions.