According to Reuters, SpaceX has got approval from the US government to set up the Starlink internet in Iran despite the violent demonstrations there after the murder of a young lady.
We must keep in mind that the US has placed several sanctions on Iran over the last few years, mostly due to the latter’s nuclear weapons development. Because of this, North American businesses are not allowed to operate there. To address a requirement, we will, nevertheless, make an uncommon exception, in this case, using Starlink.
To stop what transpired during the protests from spreading outside of Iran, the government there blocked access to local networks in the manner of a dictatorship. Additionally, it obstructs communication among the thousands of players.
Elon Musk instantly showed his willingness to activate the Starlink internet in Iran. Elon Musk is often on the lookout for such global issues to give his assistance with. Yes, in the past he was required to await American approval. Fortunately, it did not take long for clearance to come.
United States Secretary of State Antony Blinken said, “We take action today to support internet freedom and the free flow of information for the Iranian people by providing a General License to provide them broader access to digital communications to resist Iranian government censorship.”
Currently, Iran is subject to highly precise US sanctions. SpaceX will probably need to make a few more requests to activate Starlink during the rollout. However, they convey the Department of State’s commitment to give any requests for internet connectivity first priority in order to avoid interfering with business as usual. In the same vein, OFAC [Oficina de Control de Bienes Extranjeros] appreciates that commitment if SpaceX concludes that your operation is already allowed and you have any issues,” they say.
Iran protests for a week
The previous weekend saw the beginning of protests in Iran, which were sparked by the arrest of a young lady named Mahsa Amini, who was just 22 years old at the time. She was taken into custody by the morality police for allegedly violating Iran’s dress code. Although Amini was detained on September 13, he passed away in a hospital three days later.
The authorities have not yet provided details on the precise reasons and will not do so. However, a sizable portion of the populace thinks that she was tortured because of the Iranian dictatorship and the persecution of women.
According to a BBC report, the death toll had increased to 30 as of the time this story was being written. A far higher number, though, maybe concealed by Iran’s censorship tactics. Iranian scholar Mehrdad Darvishpour said, “We are seeing the emergence of a massive movement.
Musk to the Rescue, Again
Given that the Iranian government seems to have banned the Internet and phone networks, it should come as no surprise that Iranians seek to take use of this service.
“I know Mr. Musk won’t respond, but is it technically feasible to provide Starlink to Iranian citizens? It may alter the course of events in the future, “On September 19, Musk was petitioned on Twitter.
The tech billionaire said, “Starlink will request an exception to Iranian sanctions in this area.
Starlink will ask for an exemption to Iranian sanctions in this regard
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) September 19, 2022
Musk and SpaceX seem to have submitted the exemption request to serve Iran less than four days after making that commitment. And they were given the go-ahead.
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Twitter on September 23 that “we took action today to improve Internet freedom and the free flow of information for the Iranian people, granting a General License to enable them broader access to digital communications in order to challenge the Iranian government’s censorship.”
We took action today to advance Internet freedom and the free flow of information for the Iranian people, issuing a General License to provide them greater access to digital communications to counter the Iranian government’s censorship.
— Secretary Antony Blinken (@SecBlinken) September 23, 2022
Musk said that SpaceX started operating in Iran right away. The billionaire added, “Activating Starlink,” without going any more information. He doesn’t specify, for instance, if SpaceX would deploy antennas locally like it did in Ukraine.
Activating Starlink …
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) September 23, 2022
Social media users applauded the billionaire’s choice as they anticipated the Iranian government’s response to the action, which would surely thwart its attempts to suppress the demonstrations.
Twitter user @MahsaAmini said, “Great news! “That’s fantastic! Your businesses are really charitable. They are all really concerned about advancing humanity. Thank you, Elon, for always having compassion for others “claimed a Musk supporter.
Another user added, “For any Iranians reading this: note that dishes don’t have to be visible to the human eye; they may be covered by fabric, cardboard, plastic, fiberglass… anything with little RF attenuation (nothing metallic/conductive or extremely thick).”
With Inputs from The Street