On December 17, a U.S. congressman introduced legislation that would not only levy addition sanctions on financial institutions in Iran but would also sanction the use and the development of Iran's national cryptocurrency. Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-WI) introduced the bill, which is called the "Blocking Iran Illicit Finance Act." Its purpose is to prevent both terrorist-related activities and money laundering. Specifically, the bill would prohibit Americans from interacting with the Iranian national digital currency in any way. This includes financing and engaging in transactions. It would further impose sanctions against foreign entities that interact with the currency. Additionally, the bill would require the American government to issue reports to Congress detailing the development of Iran's digital currency. On December 13, a corresponding bill in the U.S. Senate was introduced by Ted Cruz (R-TX), who was a prominent presidential candidate in 2016. In 2005, the U.S. government imposed sanctions against Iran relating to the development of its nuclear program. Then, in 2010, the U.S. Congress passed legislation called the Comprehensive Iran Sanctions, Accountability, and Divestment Act, which banned Iranian financial institutions from having direct access to America's vast and important financial system. In 2015, though, the U.S. government lifted sanctions against Iran in response to the country having reportedly complied with standards laid out by the International Atomic Energy Agency in the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. Still, in 2018, President Trump withdrew the United States from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action that had been negotiated and agreed upon by the previous administration. The United States then reintroduced sanctions against Iran. Iran is developing a national digital currency as a means of avoiding sanctions. In May of this year, Mohammad Reza Pourebrahimi — who is the head of the country's Parliamentary Commission for Economic Affairs — said that digital currencies could help the country avoid making transactions in U.S. dollars. He said that the use of the currencies could also act as a replacement for the SWIFT interbank payment system. Bitcoin mining is already popular in Iran. In spite of recent drops in the prices of cryptocurrencies, it has been reported that mining is still a profitable industry there.