Starlink to Seek Exemption from Iranian Sanctions, Musk Says

Starlink broadband company will seek exemption from international sanctions against Iran so it can cover Iran and provide the firm’s Starlink satellite broadband service in the country, SpaceX CEO Elon Musk said on Monday.

According to the founder of Tesla and SpaceX, Starlink works by connecting thousands of satellites in low-earth orbit with user terminals on the ground and is now active on all seven continents.

The Islamic Republic faces sweeping international sanctions, including those over its nuclear program but Musk did not specify from which country Starlink would seek exemptions.

Some Twitter users asked Musk to provide the satellite-based internet stations at a time of widespread protests in Iran over the death of a Kurdish-Iranian woman in police custody last week.

Mahsa Amini (22) was arrested on Sept. 14 by Iran’s morality police which accused her of allegedly failing to properly wear her hijab. She died three days later after falling into a coma while being detained.

Internet monitor NetBlocks reported that there was a telecommunications blackout in parts of the Kurdistan province in Iran on Monday linking it to the protests. According to the US government-funded non-profit Freedom House, freedom of the internet, access to social media, and some content is tightly restricted in Iran and internet monitoring.

Iran’s Ministry of Communications and Information Technology could not be immediately reached for comment and neither was the Iranian Foreign Ministry, Iran’s mission to the UN, or the US Bureau of Industry and Security.

Aiming to rapidly expand Starlink, Musk’s SpaceX is racing rival satellite communications companies – including OneWeb and Inc’s – to launch Project Kuiper.

Starlink has previous experience with setting up services in disaster and emergency situations in the past, like sending user terminals to Ukraine in February after the Russian invasion caused disruptions to internet service in the country or to the south Pacific islands in Tonga earlier this year when a volcano eruption cut off the island’s internet.

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