Sunday , 3 December 2023

US Treasury Gives Nod to Elon Musk Boosting Satellite Internet Access in Iran

Iranwire – The U.S. Treasury Department has given tacit approval to an expansion of Elon Musk’s Starlink satellite internet service to cover Iran at a time of mass protests and internet shutdowns.

The SpaceX CEO was petitioned by Iranians on social media over the weekend to offer the same improved coverage to Iran as to other countries.

Since last Friday, when demonstrations first erupted over the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini, the country’s ruling dictatorship has cut off mobile internet access in parts of the country including her home province of Kurdistan.

On Tuesday, Musk wrote on Twitter in reply: “Starlink will ask for an exemption to [US] sanctions in this regard.”

He did not give further details, but on Tuesday the Treasury issued a short statement indicating it would accede the request.

A spokesperson said its Office of Foreign Assets Control had a longstanding license that “authorizes certain exports to Iran of hardware, software and services related to communications over the internet”.

They added: “For any exports not covered by existing authorizations, OFAC welcomes applications for specific licenses to authorize activities supporting internet freedom in Iran.”