Musk says activating Starlink, in response to Blinken on internet freedom in Iran


Starlink logo is seen on a smartphone in front of displayed Ukrainian flag in this illustration taken February 27, 2022. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration

(Reuters) -SpaceX CEO Elon Musk said on Friday that he would activate the firm's satellite internet service, Starlink, in response to U.S. 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.

The U.S. Treasury Department on Friday issued guidance expanding internet services available to Iranians despite U.S. sanctions on the country, amid protests around Iran following the death of a 22-year-old woman in custody.

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."

Musk could not be reached for comments or clarification regarding Starlink's clearance to operate in Iran.

Iranians have been protesting over the death of Mahsa Amini last week while in police custody after being arrested by the morality police for wearing "unsuitable attire".

Musk said on Monday that the company wanted to provide Starlink satellite broadband service - already provided to Ukraine for its fight against Russia's invasion - to Iranians, and would ask for a sanctions exception.

The U.S. State Department spokesperson added that if SpaceX were to determine that some activity aimed at Iranians requires a specific license, "OFAC would welcome it and prioritize it".

"By the same token, if SpaceX determines that its activity is already authorized and has any questions, OFAC also welcomes that engagement," the State Department spokesperson said.

(Reporting by Daphne Psaledakis and Akash Sriram in Bengaluru; additional reporting by Kanishka Singh; Editing by Shailesh Kuber and Sandra Maler)

Article type: free
User access status:
Subscribe now to our Premium Plan for an ad-free and unlimited reading experience!

   

Next In Tech News

Getir buys fast grocery rival Gorillas in $1.2 billion deal
Ericsson and Apple end patent-related legal row with licence deal
SAP to stop developing new functions for Business ByDesign software -Handelsblatt
FTX founder Bankman-Fried 'willing to testify' before U.S. House panel - tweet
StanChart told to probe suspicious credit card charges in Hong Kong
US woman, father found dead after her toddler answers phone call from worried co-worker
The hype around esports is fading as investors and sponsors dry up
Elon Musk Twitter leak raises concern about outside data access
‘Honest grandma’, 92, repays US$3mil in debt in 10 years after refusing to declare bankruptcy wins ‘most beautiful’ citizen award in China
French President Emmanuel Macron slams TikTok algorithm over censorship, ‘addiction’

Others Also Read