Iranian provincial police are continuing their crackdown on crypto miners big and small, with news surfacing that they have confiscated more than 7,000 rigs at a farm operating in the capital of Tehran.
According to a Tuesday report from the country’s state-run media, the Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA), police seized crypto miners that were operating out of an abandoned factory. Experts on the country’s electrical grid estimated that the miners operating at full capacity would amount to roughly 4% of the average daily energy consumption in Iran.
Tehran police chief Hossein Rahimi said authorities had found another 3,000 crypto miners across the Iranian capital in the last 48 hours, with police raiding 50 locations. He added that the discovery of the 7,000-rig farm was the largest, most significant drain on the country’s energy usage so far.
The operation came following Iranian President Hassan Rouhani announcing in May that Bitcoin (BTC) and cryptocurrency mining in the country would be prohibited until September. The measures are aimed at ensuring that Iranians have access to electricity during the summer.
Though the seizure of more than 7,000 miners may get more attention from authorities, police are also cracking down on the little guys — miners operating illegally using their household’s electricity can potentially face large fines. An IRNA report on Tuesday said that the police had found four miners at a Pakdasht home southeast of the capital. Authorities measured the power consumption of the household from the outside before inspecting it for mining rigs.
Before the energy crisis in Iran led to the government cracking down on power-sucking miners, many in the country seemed to be more open to the crypto industry. In 2019, lawmakers gave the green light to crypto mining as an industrial activity, requiring miners to be licensed and regulated. However, any use of the country’s electrical grid has come under scrutiny as Iran faces blackouts and brownouts, and miners are often the target.