Washington: Tesla CEO Elon Musk has deployed his satellite-based ‘Starlink’ service in Iran amid widespread protests in the country following which authorities had restricted internet access. Iranian authorities had cut off internet access for many of its citizens 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 had indicated that he will make Starlink available in Iran. US State Secretary Antony Blinken earlier announced on Twitter about advancing internet freedom and the free flow of information for the Iranian people by issuing a General License to provide them greater access to digital communications to counter, what he claimed, was the Iranian government’s censorship. Replying to Blinken’s tweet, Musk wrote, ‘Activating Starlink ….’
Activating Starlink …
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) September 23, 2022
Protestors have been demanding basic rights of freedom and holding demonstrations against the mandatory dress codes including the compulsory wearing of the Hijab. The protests in Iran erupted last weekend after Mahsa Amini died following her detainment by Iran’s morality police. She died a few days after falling into a coma while being detained on an accusation of violating a law related to hijabs. It is worth noting that earlier this week, lawmakers from New York and New Jersey had urged US Treasury Department to grant approval if SpaceX sought licensing permission to make internet service available in Iran.
Lawmakers, led by Claudia Tenney of New York and Tom Malinowski of New Jersey, reportedly made the appeal to the Treasury Department, Fox News had reported. The letter came after Musk tweeted Monday that SpaceX would seek exemptions from sanctions on the country. SpaceX has deployed Starlink in emergency situations in past, such as in Ukraine after Russia invaded and in the South Pacific islands of Tonga after a volcanic eruption.