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Iran blames crypto mining for ‘critical electricity situation’

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
File photo shows a view to a power plant located near the western Iranian city of Hamedan.

Head of Iran’s state electricity company Tavanir has blamed a fresh surge in illegal crypto mining activity in the country as a main cause of shortage in power supplies during hot summer days.

Mohammad Hassan Motavallzizadeh said on Sunday that Iran has been facing a “critical electricity situation” mainly because more people had become active in mining crypto currencies through devices smuggled into Iran in recent months.

“This year a significant flow (into Iran) of illegal cryptocurrency mining devices has caused a surge in electricity consumption resulting in the current critical electricity conditions,” said Motavallizadeh.

Weather forecasts suggested temperatures in Tehran and other semi-arid regions in Iran could rise to 40 degrees Celsius (104 Fahrenheit) on Monday.

That came as people in the capital faced hours of power cuts on Sunday several weeks after the city had seen brief blackouts.

Motavallizadeh said nationwide electricity consumption in Iran had increased by a fifth this year compared to the summer last year.

He described the surge as significant while blaming it on a jump in crypto mining activity in recent months.

Figures by Tavanir show that Iran’s electricity usage has exceeded 65,000 megawatts (MW) in peak hours of consumption in recent days.

Authorities have intensified their crackdown on unlicensed crypto mining activity. Footage released in the local media last week showed police launching a raid on a large facility located to the west of Tehran where over 7,000 mining devices had been operating.

Having one of the cheapest electricity rates in the world, Iran is estimated to be responsible for some 7% of the global cryptocurrecny production.

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