Brothers Rohani from Isfahan in Iran have shared their experience of overcoming sanctions with the help of bitcoin with The Village, a Russian media outlet.

The online merchant Persianshoes.com has been accepting bitcoin for more than a year now after first appearing in the media in November 2013. About two months ago, the idea of setting up a bitcoin ATM at the Imam Khomeini International Airport in the Iranian capital of Tehran was floated in the bitcoin community when a user asked for feedback about this initiative on Reddit. The user denied any connection with the Persianshoes.com website.

Bitcoin allows merchants to accept payments from other countries even though PayPal and credit cards are prohibited in Iran due to the sanctions introduced by the U.S. and Europe, the brothers revealed in an interview to The Village, an online magazine. They suggest that “most payment systems either are not willing to serve us at all or impose a huge risk on our business”. After the entrepreneurs experienced an increase in sales, they decided not to convert their revenue into fiat currencies and keep it in bitcoin instead.  

“Iranian sanctions cause us, small businesses, lots of complications. Firstly, it is incredibly hard to import raw materials for making shoes. Secondly, there are no stable companies that could ship our goods across the world. And, most importantly, we have no way to pay for raw materials and accept payment for our goods from foreign customers. Due to the sanctions, we are not able to use PayPal or other companies that process credit cards,” Morteza Rohani said.