IRAN and Russia could potentially begin using cryptocurrencies to circumvent Western sanctions, Russian news portal RBC reported yesterday, May 17.
Mohammad Reza Pourebrahimi, the head of the Iranian Parliamentary Commission for Economic Affairs, referred to cryptocurrencies as a promising way for both countries to avoid US dollar transactions, as well as a possible replacement of the SWIFT interbank payment system.
Cryptocurrencies would allow the countries to exchange value without third party involvement, and would effectively allow them to avoid sanctions.
Pourebrahimi stated that they have “engaged the Central Bank of Iran to start developing proposals for the use of cryptocurrency.”
Pourebrahimi added that he discussed this topic in the State Committee on Economic Policy the day prior and that Iran had established cooperation with Russia on this matter:
“They [Russia] share our opinion. We said that if we manage to move this work forward, then we will be the first countries that use cryptocurrency in the exchange of goods.”
Mezentsev noted that “interbank relations between our countries should be of great importance” with the setting of international sanctions presently in place against both Russia and Iran. The meeting of the interbank working group will be held in Tehran on July 5 of this year, RBC reports.
Last week, Pourebrahimi had disclosed that without access to the international banking scheme, Iranian citizens have so far succeeded in siphoning a remarkable $2.5 billion out of the nation in crypto.
Venezuela, another country facing international sanctions, recently unveiled its own oil-backed cryptocurrency, the Petro, in a maneuver that pundits saw as an illegal way to infiltrate the international financial markets.
Following the Petro’s launch, both Turkey and Iran have conveyed an interest in releasing their own state-backed cryptocurrencies as well, with Russia’s own CryptoRuble supposedly set to launch in mid-2019.