Iranian investors claim to have had more than 500 Bitcoins confiscated by the US government last year. And there’s not much these investors can do about it from inside Iran, according to Iran’s Blockchain Association president Sepehr Mohammadi.
He told Ibena news outlet the exact reason for the confiscation, as well as the number of coins and their value, could not be accurately determined. However, it was believed more than 500 BTC with a combined value of close on $6million at the time of confiscation, were taken by the US Government without a specific reason being given.
Bitcoins Confiscated because of Sanctions?
Many believe the issue on both the US and Iranian sides seems to revolve around US sanctions. From the US side, some, including Mohammadi, believe the confiscation was because US Government officials believed the coins were being used to circumvent the sanctions.
Earlier this year, the Iran’s Central Bank (CBI), issued a ban on Iranian financial institutions trading in bitcoin because of concern it could be used to transfer money between criminals, as well as for financing terrorism or laundering money.
This view was underlined by the Iranian Parliament’s Economic Commission chairman UU Mohammed Reza Pour-Ebrahimi, who stated earlier this month that cryptocurrency was one of the main methods Iran could use to do just that, thereby suggesting it might be an option for the country to use to evade US sanctions. He also said more than $2.5billion had already left the country to fund digital currency purchases.
Who’s going to fight Confiscation?
Mohammadi said the Blockchain Association had tried to negotiate with the US government but it appeared the only way to stop the confiscations, which are still continuing, was to take international action because of the cryptocurrency’s legal status in Iran which meant that the police and local authorities could not take action. However attempts to find suitable legal representation for international action had not yet been successful.