The Directorate for Scientific and Technological Affairs of the Presidential Office, a powerful Iranian agency charged with scientific matters, has plans to create a domestic digital currency, PressTV has reported, citing local media.
Alireza Daliri, the Directorate's deputy for management and investment affairs, said that a large number of Iranian knowledge-based companies working in cooperation with the Central Bank of Iran have the expertise to create a national cryptocurrency, but noted that some time would be necessary to remove any possible pre-launch bugs.
"We are trying to prepare the grounds to use a domestic digital currency in the country," Daliri said. "This currency would facilitate the transfer of money (to and from) anywhere in the world. Besides, it can help us at the time of sanctions," he added.
In April, Information and Communications Technology Minister Mohammad Javad Azari-Jahromi said that the Iranian cryptocurrency would help Iran circumvent sanctions if it went live. "All cryptocurrencies are capable of circumventing sanctions, because they are not under the supervision of the US financial regulatory body, and the national digital currencies are naturally capable of this," he said.
Iran is one of several countries experimenting with digital currencies amid political and economic pressure from the United States. Earlier this month, Venezuela announced that it would issue 100 million units of an oil-backed digital coin dubbed the 'Petro' worth $6 billion to get around liquidity shortages caused by US sanctions.