Iranian provincial police have arrested an individual smuggling in cryptocurrency mining machines, local news agency Fars News reported on July 31.

The Saveh Police Department's Anti-Trafficking Police seized a truck allegedly carrying 117 cryptocurrency mining machines to the value of 11.7 billion Iranian rials ($277,876 at press time).

According to Sardar Kiomars Azizi, a Police News Agency official, the police confiscated the aforementioned crypto mining equipment and arrested the truck driver.

Crypto mining in complicated regulatory territory

The news comes in the wake of the Iranian government’s authorization of cryptocurrency mining as an industrial activity in July. Now, entities engaged in the crypto mining will be required to seek a license from Iran’s Ministry of Industry, Mine and Trade.

The government’s decision nonetheless underscores that using cryptocurrencies for domestic transactions remains outlawed and that those engaged in the industry should bear responsibility for the risks without any guarantees from the government or local banking sector.

While mining may now be legal, Deputy President of the Islamic Republic of Iran Customs Administration Jamal Arounaghi recently noted that the agency has not issued any licenses for importing the equipment. 

Electricity costs and economic contribution

Also in July, the Iranian Economic Commission finalized an electricity pricing scheme for cryptocurrency miners. Energy Minister Homayoon Ha’eri did not elaborate on the exact price scheme, although he stated that the price is dependent on market factors such as fuel prices in the Persian Gulf.

The head of Iran Electrical Industry Syndicate, Ali Bakhshi, previously proposed a price of $0.07 per kilowatt hour for cryptocurrency miners. Mostafa Rajabi Mashhadi, the Energy Ministry spokesman for the power department, previously stated that the production of a single Bitcoin uses about $1,400 in state subsidies.

Governor of the Central Bank of Iran Abdolnaser Hemmati previously argued that digital currency miners in Iran should contribute to the country’s economy, rather than letting mined Bitcoin (BTC) escape abroad.