Starlink network could help Iranians bypass regime restrictions on internet access and some social media platforms
THE White House is in discussions with the billionaire Elon Musk for its use Starlinkof SpaceX’s satellite Internet service in Iran, CNN reported today, citing officials with knowledge of the matter.
The Starlink network could help the Iranians to circumvent the regime’s restrictions on internet access and on certain social media platforms.
The Islamic Republic has been gripped by protests that erupted after the September 16 death of Masha Amini. Amini, a 22-year-old Iranian of Kurdish descent, died on September 16, three days after she was arrested by morality police in Tehran for what authorities said was a violation of the Islamic Republic’s strict dress code for women.
The US Treasury Department last month said certain satellite internet equipment can be exported to Iran, suggesting the company may not need a license to provide satellite broadband service in the country.
Musk had said at the time that he would activate Starlink in response to US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken’s tweet that the United States was taking action “to advance internet freedom and the free flow of information” to the Iranians.
SpaceX and the White House did not immediately respond to Reuters requests for comment.
Musk said on Tuesday that Starlink has not received any funding from the US Department of Defense for its services in Ukraine, adding that the company was losing about $20 million a month due to unpaid services and spending on cyber defense security measures.
SpaceX aims to develop Starlink as it competes with rival satellite communications companies such as OneWeb and Amazon.com Inc that have yet to launch Project Kuiper.
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