Iran’s Central Bank, Ministry of Industry to Allow Crypto Payments for Foreign Trade Settlements

A mechanism will reportedly be put in place enabling local merchants to settle payments with international partners through the use of crypto.

Iran’s central bank and the country’s Ministry of Industry, Mine and Trade have agreed to a deal that will enable local merchants to begin using cryptocurrencies for foreign trade settlements, according to local media reports.

A mechanism, finalized during the first meeting of a joint foreign currency working group between the bank and the ministry, will involve linking the bank’s crypto platform with Iran’s Comprehensive Trade System, the Financial Tribune reported Monday.

The system will allow local businesses and merchants to settle payments with international partners when using crypto. Further details on when the deal would come into effect have not been provided.

The deal comes as Iran continues to explore means to circumvent economic sanctions, imposed by the US in 2012, over Iran’s nuclear activity and the international community’s concerns relating to the country’s nuclear program at the time.

Alireza Peyman-Pak, the ministry’s deputy minister and head of Iran’s Trade Promotion Organization, an affiliate of the Ministry of Commerce, made the announcement via his social media account on Friday, the Tehran Times reported the same day.

“We are finalizing a mechanism for operations of the system.” Peyman Pak said, per the Tribune’s report.

“This should provide new opportunities for importers and exporters to use cryptos in their international deals.”

Iran’s stance towards crypto has oscillated in recent years. In May of last year, Iranian authorities banned the domestic trade activity of crypto assets obtained from outside the country’s borders in an attempt to slow capital flight — viewed as depreciating the country’s currency, the rial.

That move came a month after the central bank said licensed institutions and money changers could make use of crypto mined by Iranian miners in a bid to navigate the country’s sanctions and promote economic activity.