Iranian authorities are reportedly cutting off internet access after the country erupted in protests last week.

SCIENCE & TECH: Elon Musk wants Starlink satellite firm exempt from Iran sanctions

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Elon Musk says he will ask world governments to exempt Starlink from sanctions imposed on Iran so that the internet satellite company can beam its signal into the Islamic Republic for the benefit of its population.

Musk, the world’s richest person by virtue of his controlling interest in electric car maker Tesla, took to Twitter on Sunday and boasted that Starlink, which markets “high-speed, low-latency broadband internet in remote and rural locations across the globe,” has gone online to service all seven of the planet’s continents, including Antarctica.

Erfan Kasraie, a Germany-based science journalist who writes for the German news company Deutsche Welle’s Farsi language service, posted a response to Musk in the hope that the tech mogul would engage him.

“I’m sure you won’t answer it Mr Musk, but is it technically possible to provide Starlink to Iranian people?” Kasraie asked.

“It could be a game changer for the future.”

Musk replied: “Starlink will ask for an exemption to Iranian sanctions in this regard.”

Another Twitter user, Agustín Antonetti, who identifies himself as a human rights activist that monitors Latin America, implored Musk to seek a similar exemption so that Starlink could provide unfettered internet access to the people of Cuba.

“Could you do the same for other countries under a dictatorship like Cuba for example?” Antonetti asked.

Iranian authorities are reportedly cutting off internet access after the country erupted in protests last week.
AFP via Getty Images

“You will save so many lives.”

To which Musk replied: “Ok.”

A grateful Antonetti followed up with a tweet praising Musk.

“Starlink is a hope for the fight for freedom in Latin America, we trust you, thank you so much for your help,” he wrote.

Western businesses are currently barred from doing business in Iran due to sanctions that have been intermittently imposed on the country by the US.

In 2015, the Obama administration came to an agreement with Iran that lifted sanctions in exchange for limitations to Tehran’s nuclear program.

But then-President Donald Trump pulled the US out of the nuclear accord and put the sanctions back in place.

Trump’s successor, President Joe Biden, and European allies are currently negotiating a resumption of the deal, known as the JCPOA, or Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.

Iranians poured into the streets after a 22-year-old woman died in police custody after she was arrested for allegedly violating the country's dress code.
Iranians poured into the streets after a 22-year-old woman died in police custody after she was arrested for allegedly violating the country’s dress code.
AFP via Getty Images

Iran was a longtime ally of the US until the 1979 revolution toppled the Shah and brought to power a fundamentalist Islamic regime that has been accused of supporting terrorism, fomenting regional instability, and various other human rights violations.

An estimated tens of thousands of Iranians throughout the country have taken to the streets in recent days to denounce the government after a 22-year-old woman, Masha Amini, died in police custody.

Amini was arrested last week by Iran’s “morality police” after she was alleged to have violated the country’s dress code which requires women to cover their heads.

Musk's Starlink service is currently online and providing internet access to all seven continents, according to the mogul.
Musk’s Starlink service is currently online and providing internet access to all seven continents, according to the mogul.
AP

Clashes have reportedly erupted between protesters and authorities, who have also moved to shut down internet service in an effort to quell the unrest.

Earlier this year, Musk moved to provide Ukraine with access to Starlink internet satellites after Russia launched an invasion of the country.

Ukrainians have credited Starlink with helping their military wage a counteroffensive against the invading Russian forces.





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