Iranian police have launched enforcement operations to enforce the ban on Bitcoin and cryptocurrency mining ordered by President, Hassan Rouhani. Recent raids have resulted in a record seizure of mining equipment.
Iranian miners put up resistance
Back in May, the Iranian president announced a ban on cryptocurrency mining in the country until September, in order to ensure people’s access to electricity during the summer.
Iran’s provincial police then launched an operation against recalcitrant miners. The Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA) highlighted the seizure of a mining farm in an abandoned factory in the capital, Tehran, in an article on June 22, 2021. The raid resulted in the confiscation of 7,000 mining devices. According to estimates by the country’s power grid experts, the miners were using nearly 4% of Iran’s average daily energy consumption when operating at full capacity.
Tehran police chief Hossein Rahimi cited figures that show the reluctance of miners to comply with the temporary ban. Police reportedly found 3,000 more violators following raids at 50 sites in just 48 hours.
Big or small: no exceptions for the police
The authorities aren’t just cracking down on large mining operations. They are also punishing armchair miners who operate illegally using household electricity. Police caught four miners in a house in Pakdasht located southeast of Tehran, according to IRNA’s June 22 article. The arrested miners face heavy fines.
Iran has been cracking down on cryptocurrencies since the country has been facing frequent power outages. Miners are often singled out. Prior to these problems, however, lawmakers had given the green light to crypto mining in 2019. However, miners had to obtain a license and be subject to specific regulations to continue their activities.
Iran is cracking down on cryptocurrency mining, while Bitcoin (BTC) remains an effective weapon for the country to circumvent the embargo by the US and its allies. For now, Iranian miners can only take their pain in patience, while hoping that this suspension of mining activities does not become a permanent decision.