US Gives Musk OK To Provide Internet for Iran as Protests Rage
The head of the American SpaceX technology company Elon Musk has received permission from the United States government to provide satellite internet service to Iran, after millions of Iranians found themselves cut off from the already restricted internet as mass protests rage in the country.
The protests erupted following the death of a young woman after her arrest by the so-called “morality police.” Mahsa Amini, 22, died several days after she was detained over an alleged violation of the Iranian dress code that requires women to cover their hair in public.
Musk received an exemption for the SpaceX Starlink satellite internet service due to what US Secretary of State Antony Blinken wrote on Twitter was a move to “advance Internet freedom and the free flow of information for the Iranian people.”
We took action today to advance Internet freedom and the free flow of information for the Iranian people, issuing a General License to provide them greater access to digital communications to counter the Iranian government’s censorship.
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— Secretary Antony Blinken (@SecBlinken) September 23, 2022
The SpaceX boss sought the exemption in response to a request from Iranian-born scientist and journalist Erfan Kasraie, who called on Musk to provide the service a day after Iran slowed down and in some places completely shut down internet availability in response to the protests.
Dozens of protesters have been killed in the demonstrations, human rights groups say, while official Iranian sources say hundreds of people have been arrested since the protests erupted.