SpaceX wants to bring satellite internet to Iran: Musk

SpaceX wants to bring satellite internet to Iran: Musk

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Washington (AFP) – SpaceX will seek an exemption from U.S. sanctions against Iran in order to offer its satellite internet service to the country, owner Elon Musk said Monday.

“Starlink will seek an exemption from sanctions against Iran,” Musk said in response to a tweet from a science journalist.

Musk initially announced that Starlink satellite internet service had been made available on all continents – “including Antarctica” – with the company planning to launch up to 42,000 satellites to boost connectivity.

Iranian-born science journalist Erfan Kasraie had said on Twitter that bringing the service to Iran could be “a real game-changer for the future” of the country, prompting Musk’s response.

Launched in late 2020, Starlink offers high-speed broadband service to customers in areas underserved by fixed and mobile terrestrial networks via a constellation of satellites in low Earth orbit.

The service gained notoriety after supplying antennas and modems to the Ukrainian military to improve its communication capabilities in its war with Russia.

Starlink is monetized through the purchase of antennas, modems and subscriptions with prices that vary by country.

Nearly 3,000 Starlink satellites have been deployed since 2019, and SpaceX performs about one launch per week, using its own Falcon 9 rockets to speed its deployment.

Iran has been under a heightened US sanctions regime since former President Donald Trump ended a 2015 deal over its nuclear activities.

While current President Joe Biden backs a renegotiation of the deal, Iran’s insistence on long-term guarantees from Washington has stalled talks.

New rounds of sanctions were imposed on Iran this month after a Tehran-based company helped ship drones to Russia, and in response to a massive cyberattack targeting Albania in July that was reportedly conducted by the Iranian Ministry of Intelligence.

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