SpaceX is seeking to offer its Starlink satellite internet system to users in Iran, a country notorious for internet censorship. However, the company needs to first obtain a license from the U.S. government, which has long imposed sanctions on the sale of technology to Iran.
SpaceX CEO Elon Musk tweeted about the idea after an Iranian-born science journalist named Erfan Kasraie ask(opens in new window) He’s about bringing Starlink to this country.
“I’m sure you won’t answer that question, Mr. Musk, but is it technically possible to provide Starlink to the Iranian people? It could be a game changer in the future,” Kasraie wrote.
In response, Musk Say(opens in new window): “Starlink will request a waiver of Iran sanctions in this regard.”
Since 1995, the United States has banned the sale of technology to Iran in response to the country’s nuclear program. As a result, U.S. companies can only sell tech products directly to the Iranian market with permission from the federal government.
However, the United States could make an exception for SpaceX’s Starlink system, which is capable of delivering high-speed internet to rural and remote areas around the world. Additionally, Starlink can help local users in Iran gain uncensored internet access.
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Still, it is questionable whether the Iranian government will turn a blind eye to Starlink and allow the unregulated sale of satellite internet services within the country. Iran has blocked access to major websites including YouTube, Twitter and Facebook, although local users can rely on VPNs to bypass censorship.
Meanwhile, Iran is one of the countries that Starlink does not currently plan to serve, according to the service’s website. Other countries include China, Russia, Syria, North Korea and Venezuela, among others.
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