Musk says he will activate Starlink for Iranians

SpaceX CEO Elon Musk has been given the green light by the United States government to activate the satellite internet service Starlink to help Iranians protesting against the death of a woman in police custody.

This follows US Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s tweet that the United States took action “to advance internet freedom and the free flow of information” to Iranians. Since the death of Mahsa Amini, access to social media has been tightly restricted in Iran and significant internet outages have been reported across the country, with one of the biggest mobile phone operators disrupted on Saturday, leaving millions of Iranians offline.

The US Treasury Department on Friday issued guidance expanding internet services available to Iranians despite US sanctions on the country.

A Treasury official briefing reporters said: “Our understanding of Starlink is that what they provide would be commercial grade, and it would be hardware that’s not covered in the general license; so that would be something they would need to write into Treasury for.”

A U.S. State Department spokesperson later said of Friday’s updated license that it was self-executing and that “anyone who meets the criteria outlined in this general license can proceed with their activities without requesting additional permissions.”

Image Credit: AP Photo/Jae C. Hong, File