Elon Musk Seeks Permission To Bring Starlink to Iran

Elon Musk wants to bring his Starlink satellite internet services to the citizens of Iran. However, to do that, he'll first have to seek permission from the Treasury Department and secure exemptions from the tight sanctions imposed by the U.S. government against the Islamic Republic.

Credit: Reuters

The Tesla and SpaceX CEO first made the idea known to the public after replying to a Twitter query by Erfan Kasraie, an Iranian-born science writer based in Germany. “I’m sure you won’t answer it Mr Musk, but is it technically possible to provide Starlink to Iranian people?” asked Kasraie. To which Musk replied, "Starlink will ask for an exemption to Iranian sanctions in this regard."

For those unfamiliar, Starlink is a constellation of low-orbit satellites operated by SpaceX that can beam high-speed, low-latency broadband internet across the globe. Musk recently tweeted that the service is now available in all seven continents, including Antartica.


The U.S. has banned Western companies from doing business in Iran, including sales of technology, in response to the country's nuclear program. But exemptions can be made if a company secures a license from the government.


“We have of course, in the past, provided for various forms of exemptions for the Iranian people’s ability to communicate with each other and with the world," said National security adviser Jake Sullivan in a White House press briefing.

Credit: Reuters

Still, if Starlink does secure exemptions, it could then face some resistance from the Iranian government, which has long maintained control over the country's internet. The move also comes at a volatile time in Iran's history, with tens of thousands of the country's citizens reportedly taking to the streets to condemn the government for the death of Masha Amini.


Amini was a 22-year-old woman who was arrested by the country's "morality police" for violating dress code, which required women to cover their heads. She died in police custody three days after her arrest.


Iran's government has shut down internet access in some parts of the country and tightened restrictions on social media in an attempt to quell the unrest.


SpaceX has deployed internet service in emergency situations before. In February, the company sent terminals to Ukraine, allowing them to stay online, days after Russia's invasion.

 
  • Elon Musk wants to bring his Starlink satellite internet services to the citizens of Iran.

  • However, to do that, he'll first have to seek permission from the Treasury Department and secure exemptions from the tight sanctions imposed by the U.S. government against the Islamic Republic.

  • The move comes at a volatile time in the Iran's history, with tens of thousands of the country's citizens reportedly taking to the streets to condemn the government for the death of Masha Amini.

  • Amini was a 22-year-old woman who was arrested by the country's "morality police" for violating dress code, which required women to cover their heads.



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