An Iranian woman uses her smartphone amid a power blackout in northern Tehran on January 21, 2020. (Getty)

July 7, 2021

Industries will close for a period of two weeks due to power outages, Iran’s Minister of Energy has announced. The decision followsweeks of blackouts caused by continued cryptocurrency mining, which the government banned in late May.

According to the Iranian Students’ News Agency, energy minister Reza Ardakanian announced the shutdown on Wednesday, July 7.

Outlining the damage cryptocurrency mining was allegedly causing to Iran’s fragile electricity infrastructure, he said that in recent weeks, 3,646 illegal mining farms using 196,233 devices had been shut down. Unauthorized mining farms represented an electricity consumption of 570 MW, he said, while authorized centers were using 521 MW.

Ardakanian did not specify which industries had been compromised by the outages and would have to halt operations. But Shahbaz Hassanpour, parliamentary representative for Sirjan in Kerman province, announced that there had been widespread damage to the steel industry caused by power outages, pointing specifically to the plight of the region’s Dimand Steel and Cement Company. The problems the industries faced, he said, would have a knock-on effect: not only were local people suffering because of blackouts, steel prices were on the rise, meaning other businesses would face problems.

The energy minister also said he hoped a two-week shutdown would provide a recovery period amid rising temperatures and rising electricity consumption.

The ban on Bitcoin and other cryptocurrency production – which includes authorized mining –  was introduced by Hassan Rouhani’s administration in May and will last at least until the end of the summer.

In the latest announcement, Ardakanian said the Attorney General had confiscated an unspecified number of mining devices and planned to store them securely for the ban’s duration.

During the first week of July, frequent power outages across Iran meant ordinary citizens found it difficult to obtain basic goods including bread, and some had limited or no to access to water supplies. In some cities, residents protested outside the offices of electricity authorities, expressing anger over the shortages.

Iran Wire

About Track Persia

Track Persia is a Platform run by dedicated analysts who spend much of their time researching the Middle East, in due process we fall upon many indications of growing expansionary ambitions on the part of Iran in the MENA region and the wider Islamic world. These ambitions commonly increase tensions and undermine stability.