Elon Musk, CEO of SpaceX, posted on Twitter on Monday that Starlink, a satellite internet provider, would seek exemptions from sanctions imposed on Iran in order to operate there.
When asked if the business will be able to offer Iranians access to the Starlink internet service, Musk gave his response. Wide-ranging international sanctions are imposed on the Islamic Republic, including ones related to its nuclear program.
“Starlink will ask for an exemption to Iranian sanctions in this regard,” Musk tweeted.
According to Musk, Starlink, which makes use of satellites in orbit around the Earth, has more than 400,000 subscribers worldwide. It is intended for usage in outlying locations. Musk claimed the service is now operational on all seven continents in a tweet on Sunday.
The death of Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old woman, who passed away on Friday while in police detention, has sparked anti-government demonstrations in Iran at the time of Musk’s tweet. Last Tuesday, the morality police arrested her for improperly donning her head covering in Tehran, the Iranian capital. The Iranian police denied that Amini had been abused and referred to her death as “unfortunate” on Monday.
According to internet monitoring website NetBlocks, Iranian internet users have been complaining about “the disconnection or severe slowing of internet connectivity in multiple cities” since Friday. Amini came from the west Iranian province of Kurdistan, where internet services were “near-totally disrupted” on Monday night, according to the organization.
“The network disruptions are likely to severely limit the public’s ability to express political discontent and communicate freely,” said NetBlocks.
Freedom of the internet is “highly restrictive” in Iran, according to Freedom House, a US government-funded non-profit.