Iran to Strengthen Sanctions for Illicit Exploitation of Subsidized Energy for Mining Cryptocurrencies

According to reports, fines will increase in comparison to present amounts, and repeat infractions will result in time behind bars.

Iran’s government will strengthen fines for cryptocurrency mining facilities that operate on the utilization of subsidized energy. The action is an additional step toward strengthening mining regulations in the country, which has struggled with power shortages for years now.

The Tehran Times reported on April 16 that the government intends to dramatically enhance fines for mining facilities that utilize subsidized electricity, referencing the country’s Power Generation, Distribution, and Transmission agency. Mohammad Khodadadi Bohlouli, the company’s spokesman, stipulated the following: “Any use of subsidized electricity, intended for households, industrial, agricultural and commercial subscribers, for mining cryptocurrency is prohibited.”

As per Bohlouli, penalties for mining companies that use subsidized energy will increase by at least threefold and at most fivefold. Repeated violations may result in the loss of the license of a business and possibly in the offender’s incarceration.

From 2019, cryptocurrency mining activities in Iran have been lawful and are subjected to a permitting process. The Ministry of Industry, Mining, and Trade had issued approximately 1,000 mining permits since January 2020.

Hasan Rouhani, the president of Iran issued a provisional embargo on cryptocurrency mining in May 2021 due to several significant obstacles to the country’s power grid, including drought and decreasing precipitation. This pattern was replicated in September when the moratorium was removed only to be restored in December of last year.

When announcing the alteration of the fines for subsidized energy utilization in May 2021, Mostafa Rajabi Mashhadi, the spokeswoman for the Energy Ministry of Iran remarked that the illicit cryptocurrency mining “creates problems in supplying electricity due to the damage to the local power grid and transformers.”