Musk says Starlink will be activated in Iran in response to US Secretary of State statement
Elon Musk, the SpaceX CEO, and CEO of electric car manufacturer Tesla said on Friday that he would be activating the firm's satellite internet service Starlink in Iran. This is a response to US Secretary of State Antony Blinken's statement that the United States took action "to advance internet freedom and the free flow of information" to Iranians.
Despite sanctions imposed on Iran, the U.S. Treasury Department on Friday issued guidance on expanding internet services available to Iranians. Following the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini's suspicious death in the custody of Iranian authorities.
A treasury official briefing reporters earlier on Friday said, Starlink's commercial-grade system, which would involve sending hardware into Iran, would not be covered by the general license.
The official from the Treasury said in a statement, "That would be something that they would need to write into the Treasury for."
Musk could not be reached for comments, or any clarifications on Starlink's clearance to operate in Iran.
Protests have been ongoing in Iran, over the death of young Mahsa Amini last week who was arrested for "unsuitable attire," by the morality police.
Musk had said in an earlier statement that the company wanted to provide Starlink broadband services. Similar to those already provided to Ukraine to fight against Russia's invasion. But also to provide Iranians with a measure of freedom and would ask for sanctions exceptions.
The Starlink system is a satellite constellation system that aims to deliver global internet coverage. The system is aimed at bringing internet broadband service to rural and geographically isolated areas where internet connectivity is unreliable or nonexistent.
Starlink works on a the same satellite internet service technology that has existed for decades. Instead of using cable technology, such as fiber optics to transmit data, a satellite system uses radio signals through the vacuum of space.
Ground stations broadcast signals to satellites in orbit, which in turn relay the data back to the Starlink users on Earth. In the Starlink constellation of hundreds of satellites, each satellite weight 573 and has a flat body. One SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket can fit up to 60 satellites.
Elon Musk want to bring this technology to the people of Iran, and is seeking exceptions to sanctions that are in place since the Nuclear Arm's Deal was breached. Musk made the statement that he would be seeking exceptions to the sanctions, and permission to use the Starlink service in Iran, on Twitter, citing Tweets from people in Iran, who wanted the service activated. This in response to the protests which have erupted against the morality police. The death of Mahsa Amini while in the custody of the morality police have caused widespread upset in Iran.