Elon Musk Says He’s Activating Starlink in Iran After the U.S. Eases Restrictions on Tech Companies

FILE - Tesla CEO Elon Musk attends the opening of the Tesla factory Berlin Brandenburg in Gruenheide, Germany, March 22, 2022. Musk's hopes to operate his satellite internet firm in Iran require permission from the Treasury Department, which said Tuesday it welcomes applications to support internet freedom in the country, which is largely isolated from western economies. The Tesla CEO tweeted Monday that his satellite internet firm Starlink would seek permission to operate in Iran.(Patrick Pleul/Pool Photo via AP, File)

Elon Musk tweeted that he would work to provide internet in Iran with new sanctions have been lifted.

After the U.S. treasury department eased sanctions, Elon Musk made a decision to activate his company’s Starlink internet service in Iran and provide the country with unfiltered access to information.

The Iranian government has carried out a swift and violent crackdown on the protests after the death of a 22-year-old woman. They detained Mahsa Amini, because they considered she was not wearing her hijab properly, and then three days after they arrested her she died.

Her family and protesters believe she lost her life because of the officers. The authorities contend that her death was caused by a heart attack.

The American government has called Amini’s death a tragedy. They want to loosen restrictions for tech companies. The company can operate in Iran but remains under strict sanctions from the U.S.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a statement that the government has cut off internet access to prevent citizens from watching the Iranian government violently crack down on peaceful protestors. The world is now aware of the incident due to the loss of Mahsa Amini and it seems like they are trying to silence people altogether.

The General License D-2 authorizes exports to Iran of software and services, including social networks, communication platforms, e-gaming, and cloud-based software. It is self-executing and allows companies to provide these tools in Tehran.

Starlink doesn’t fit into any of the U.S. government examples, so it’s unclear if Musk can provide his satellite internet in Iran.

When the senior Treasury Department official was asked about Starlink, he replied that it would need to be covered in a separate authorization from the other spacecraft.

Earlier this week, before the government announced its support for internet freedom, Elon Musk tweeted that Starlink would ask for an exemption from American sanctions on Iran to provide internet in the country. Elon isn’t sure if he is going to go through with this or not but he has pulled out of important things at the last minute and caused a bigger mess.

Any applications for licenses that support internet freedom in Iran will be prioritized. Any activity not covered by General License D2 will be eligible for a specific license, says the Treasury Department.

Gizmodo reached out to SpaceX on Saturday and asked for clarification, but we did not receive a response.

When the US loosened only certain sanctions, Iran criticized this move, stating that it was a part of their agenda against them.

“With the reduction of some sanctions, the U.S. is looking to advance its goals against Iran, as Nasser Kanaani explained in a report on state media.”

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