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Iranian crypto mining poses 'direct threat' to national security, Senators Warren and King argue

The senators also highlighted how Iran has been known to have ties with money laundering and ransomware attacks.

{ Alt Text: Senators Elizabeth Warren and Angus King have warned about threats from Iran's crypto mining industry to bypass sanctions, depicted in image

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US Senators Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Angus King (I-Maine) have sent a letter to top military and financial officials, expressing concerns about Iran’s reliance on cryptocurrency mining as a means of generating revenue and potentially evading US sanctions.

The letter, dated May 1, was addressed to Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, Secretary of the Treasury Janet Yellen, and National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan.

In the letter, the lawmakers highlighted Iran’s status as a leading jurisdiction for Bitcoin (BTC) mining and the country’s central bank’s use of crypto to fund the economy. They argued that Iran’s “increasingly lucrative” relationship with crypto mining “poses a direct threat to our national security.”

“Cryptomining has become such a big industry in Iran that it has strained the country’s energy grid, leading the Iranian government to temporarily suspend cryptomining several times after it was blamed for massive blackouts,” the senators wrote.

Warren and King also noted Iran’s history with crypto money laundering and the government’s alleged ties to ransomware operations that utilize digital assets. The senators requested the officials to explain how the administration is taking steps to address threats to national security based on these assertions.

Warren and King further complicate their argument by saying that beyond the revenue that Iran earns through crypto mining, the country’s “use of crypto to launder funds is well known,” with its top exchange, Nobitex, providing guidance on its website on how to avoid sanctions.

The letter cited several instances of Iran’s crypto-mining activities, primarily based on information from 2021. Senator Warren, a prominent critic of crypto risks, has consistently raised concerns about the potential dangers associated with digital assets. Notably, Warren is also known for sponsoring a bill that could threaten US jobs.

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