Boxes of machinery used in Bitcoin “mining” operations that were confiscated by police in Nazarabad, undated. (AP)

April 16, 2021

State-approved Bitcoin mining is set to resume in a city in Kerman after receiving heavy Chinese investment, its MP confirmed in parliament yesterday.

Hossein Jalali, the representative for the city of Rafsanjan, told the chamber on Wednesday, April 14 that billions of tomans’ worth of Chinese money had been poured into a Bitcoin mining farm in the city and “should not be lost”.

The site and others made headlines in January this year after being blamed for widespread power outages across several Iranian cities.

Iranian media and the Iranian Electricity Company said the Rafsanjan facility alone had been using 175 megawatt-hour (MWh) of electricity from the total 600 MWh allotted to all cryptocurrency factories in the country.

It was temporarily closed on the orders of the governor of Kerman after local demonstrations broke out, prompted by the blackouts.

Residents have now expressed concerns about the prospect of the site reopening – especially since, according to ILNA News Agency, no action has been taken to enhance electricity provision in the province since January.

The Islamic Republic sees cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin as a means to circumvent sanctions and increase its revenues. Bitcoin and other cryptocurrency mining farms need a permit from the state to operate, though in practice “illegal” mining is thought to account for around half of all cryptocurrency mining in Iran.

Iran Wire

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Track PersiaTrack 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.