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Iran may be funding terrorist operations through revenue from Bitcoin mining, says US lawmakers

  • Bitcoin mining in Iran produced a possible $1 billion in revenue in 2021.
  • Iran has used crypto to evade sanctions and fund terrorist groups, claims Senators Warren and King.
  • Senators Warren and King want the Biden administration to outline steps taken to address threats posed by Iran’s mining operations.

In a letter on May 1, US lawmakers Senators Elizabeth Warren and Angus King warned of a potential national security threat from Iran’s Bitcoin mining operations. They inquired about Biden’s administration efforts to combat the issue.

Iran government could be funding terrorism through crypto

In a letter addressed to Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, and National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan, the senators requested the government to provide insights into Iran’s crypto mining operations since 2021 and how the Iranian government benefited.

Senators Warren and King also enquired about the government’s efforts to prevent the possible funding of terrorist operations through Iran’s crypto mining.

Also read: AI safety group proposes criminal liability on developers, tokens suffer steep declines in prices

“Iran was estimated to mine as much as seven percent of the global Bitcoin market […] and could have produced as much as one billion in revenue,” the letter states. The letter highlights that crypto miners in Iran are required to sell their produce to the Iranian central bank. The crypto funds, in turn, help the Iranian government evade sanctions, posing a “direct threat to our national security,” said the senators.

“The Iranian military has used crypto to fund known terrorist groups like Hezbollah, the organization believed to be partially responsible for the January 2024 drone strike in Jordan that killed three US service members,” they said. “Unless we take action, Iran will continue to use crypto to fund attacks against Israel.”

Senator Elizabeth Warren has been one of the most vocal crypto critics in the US government, linking crypto to child abuse, money laundering, and terrorism and even proposing an anti-crypto bill.

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