Iran Seen as Removing Crypto Ban by End-September

A central bank official has hinted that Iran is likely to introduce a regulatory framework for digital currencies in less than a month, removing a ban that has been in force since April.

The Central Bank of Iran (CBI) is likely to reverse its current ban on cryptocurrencies and set up a framework to regulate them by late September, the Financial Tribune wrote on Monday, quoting central bank Nasser Hakimi.

The new rules will cover several aspects, according to Nasser Hakimi, CBI's deputy for innovative technologies. Speaking at a blockchain and crypto conference held in Tehran over the weekend, he said:

"The first concerns the prevalent global cryptocurrencies. The High Council of Anti-Money Laundering has imposed a ban in light of concerns over global allegations of money laundering and financing of terrorism. But it seems that after the government's consideration, this blanket ban will be reviewed.”

In April, the CBI prohibited cryptocurrency trading in a move seeking to combat money laundering. The decision also reflected the need to curb the potential use of digital coins to support terrorist activity and address other issues stemming from the lack of a regulatory framework. However, the ban had only a temporary effect as crypto exchanges soon resumed operations, so setting up rules for digital assets appears to have come back into play.

Hakimi’s announcement of the upcoming crypto regulation comes as the Middle Eastern country goes through the final stage of developing its national virtual currency. Iran disclosed in July its intentions to tokenize the rial in a bid to circumvent US-led sanctions imposed on its economic system.

In a comment on the planned state-backed cryptocurrency, Hakimi claimed it first needs a “suitable and prevalent backing.”

"National virtual currencies haven't proved successful experiences in the world, but some economic officials have emphasized on this, so the Informatics Services Corporation has readied a test edition and some other entities are also cooperating in this," the CBI official said.