Iran’s government has approved a set of regulations for trading with cryptocurrencies, a move that potentially allows the country to skirt some U.S. financial sanctions imposed over Tehran’s nuclear program.

This news was announced on August 29, just weeks after Iran’s Trade Development Organization approved its first official import order, worth $10 million for the import of cars, using cryptocurrency. It served as a test run for allowing the country to trade through digital assets that bypass the global financial system. It also served to trade with other countries similarly embargoed by US sanctions. 

According to Trade Minister Seyed Reza Fatemi Amin, the regulations for using cryptocurrencies instead of dollar and euro were finalized by the administration on Sunday. He said, “All the issues related to crypto-assets, including how to provide fuel and energy, and how to assign and grant licenses were devised.”

Iran’s time with cryptocurrency has been complex. In 2019, Iran’s central bank banned trading of cryptocurrencies inside the country. However, the government still allowed the use of crypto, such as bitcoin, to pay for imports.

Additionally, Iran police have confiscated over 9,000 illegal crypto-mining rigs since March 21, 2022. Crypto-mining is the cause of multiple power outages in the country. The illegal mining caused associations in Iran to call for more regulations on cryptocurrency as a whole.

On the other hand, the approval allows Iran to circumvent the US sanctions that have hurt the Iranian economy. The sanctions have weakened the national currency, hence why cryptocurrencies have become so popular in the country.

“It is necessary to train people for using this new technology in the country and have stable laws in this regard,” says Alireza Managherbi, the head of Iran’s Importers Group and Representatives of Foreign Companies.

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