Tesla CEO Elon Musk has deployed satellite-based Starlink service in Iran amid widespread protests in the country and subsequent authorities restricting internet access.
The Iranian government cut off many citizens’ internet access on Wednesday amid widespread protests over the death of a 22-year-old woman, Mahsa Amini, in police custody, according to reports.
On Friday, SpaceX founder Elon Musk said he would offer Starlink in Iran.
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken earlier announced on Twitter to promote internet freedom and greater access to digital communications by granting the Iranian people more access to digital communications in response to censorship by the Iranian government by issuing a general license. Free flow of information.
We are taking action today to promote internet freedom and the free flow of information for the Iranian people by issuing a general license that provides them with greater access to digital communications to counter censorship by the Iranian government.
— Secretary of State Anthony Blinken (@SecBlinken) September 23, 2022
“Activate Starlink,” Musk wrote in response to Blinken’s tweet.
Protesters have been demanding basic freedoms and have demonstrated against mandatory dress codes, including the mandatory wearing of the hijab.
Protests in Iran erupted last weekend after Mahsa Amini died in the custody of Iran’s ethics police. She was detained on charges of violating hijab-related laws and died days later in a coma.
Notably, lawmakers in New York and New Jersey earlier this week urged the U.S. Treasury Department to approve whether SpaceX seeks a license to provide internet services in Iran.
Lawmakers, led by Claudia Tenney of New York and Tom Malinowski of New Jersey, reportedly appealed to the Treasury Department, according to Fox News. The letter came after Musk tweeted on Monday that SpaceX would seek a waiver from sanctions against the country.
SpaceX has deployed Starlink in the past in emergencies, such as Ukraine after a Russian invasion and the Tonga Islands in the South Pacific after a volcanic eruption.