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Binance, the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange, is processing billions of dollars of transactions on behalf of Iran, disregarding U.S. sanctions designed to cut off the country from the global financial system. 

Some $7.8 billion in crypto trades have flowed between Binance and Iran’s largest cryptocurrency exchange, Nobitex, since 2018, according to a Reuters report that cites data from U.S. blockchain researcher Chainalysis.

The U.S. State Department has designated Iran as a State Sponsor of Terrorism since 1984, citing  “support for Hizballah, Palestinian terrorist groups in Gaza, and various terrorist and militant groups in Iraq, Syria, and elsewhere throughout the Middle East.” As a result, the U.S. Treasury imposes a broad range of sanctions designed to squeeze Iran’s finances and limit its industrial activities.

The Iranian crypto exchange Nobitex offers guidance on how to evade U.S. sanctions. In a blog post last year Nobitex advised clients to use a cryptocurrency called Tron that allows users to hide their identity so they can trade anonymously without “endangering assets due to sanctions,” according to the Reuters report.

In a statement to Reuters, a Binance spokesperson said, “Binance.com is not a U.S. company,” adding, “However, we have taken proactive steps to limit our exposure to the Iranian marketplace.” Binance was founded in China by Chinese-Canadian businessman Changpeng Zhao, known as “CZ,” and is reportedly now based in Japan.

The U.S. Justice Department is currently investigating Binance for violation of anti-money-laundering rules. The case also includes an investigation into Binance’s dealings with Iran, according to the Reuters report.

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