OFAC sanctions entities behind Iran’s digital currency program



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The U.S. Treasury sanctioned entities for illegally exporting technology to Iran, including one that developed Iran’s central bank digital currency platform.

The Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) said in a press release that on Feb. 14 it imposed sanctions against a network of entities responsible for facilitating the “illegal export of goods and technology from over two dozen U.S. companies to end-users in Iran.”

According to the document, the financial regulator particularly sanctioned Iran-based Informatics Services Corporation (ISC), a subsidiary of the Central Bank of Iran, which recently developed the central bank digital currency (CBDC) platform for Iran. OFAC says ISC is being sanctioned for having “materially assisted, sponsored, or provided financial, material, or technological support, for, or goods or services to or in support” of the Central Bank of Iran.

In addition to ISC, OFAC also imposed sanctions against UAE-based Advance Banking Solution Trading DMCC, which acted as a front company for ISC, the regulator said, adding that the firm “falsely claimed that it was the ultimate end user of the products, concealing their intent to forward the items to Iran from U.S.-based vendors.”

Iran, like many other countries, has been exploring the potential benefits of CBDCs, including facilitating cross-border transactions, reducing transaction costs, and enhancing financial inclusion. As crypto.news reported, ISC started working on a digital rial back in 2018 using the Hyperledger Fabric, a blockchain framework hosted by the Linux Foundation.


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