SpaceX owner Elon Musk said Monday that SpaceX will apply for a waiver from U.S. sanctions on Iran to provide satellite internet services to the country.
“Starlink will apply for a waiver of sanctions against Iran,” Musk said in response to a tweet from a science reporter.
Musk initially announced that Starlink satellite internet service is already available on every continent — “including Antarctica” — and the company plans to launch as many as 42,000 satellites to enhance connectivity.
Erfan Kasraie, an Iranian-born science journalist, said on Twitter that bringing the service to Iran could be a “real game-changer for the future” of the country, prompting a response from Musk.
Launched in late 2020, Starlink provides high-speed broadband services to customers in areas underserved by fixed and mobile terrestrial networks through a constellation of satellites in low Earth orbit.
The service gained notoriety after supplying the Ukrainian military with antennas and modems to improve its communications capabilities in the war with Russia.
Starlink makes money by buying antennas, modems, and subscriptions, and costs vary by country.
Nearly 3,000 Starlink satellites have been deployed since 2019, with SpaceX conducting weekly launches using its own Falcon 9 rockets to speed up deployment.
Iran has been under a tightened U.S. sanctions regime since former President Donald Trump terminated a 2015 deal on its nuclear activities.
While current President Joe Biden supports renegotiating the deal, Iran’s insistence on long-term assurances from Washington has stalled discussions.
A new round of sanctions was imposed on Iran this month after a Tehran-based company helped deliver drones to Russia in response to a massive cyberattack on Albania allegedly carried out by Iran’s intelligence ministry in July.