Elon Musk, the owner of SpaceX, said on Monday that the company will seek an exemption from US sanctions against Iran in order to offer its satellite internet service to the country.
“Starlink will apply for an exemption from Iran sanctions,” Musk said in response to a science reporter’s tweet.
Musk had initially stated that the Starlink satellite internet service would be available on all continents, “including Antarctica,” with the company planning to launch up to 42,000 satellites to increase connectivity.
On Twitter, Iranian-born science journalist Erfan Kasraie stated that bringing the service to Iran could be a “real game changer for the future” of the country, prompting Musk’s response.
Starlink, which will be launched at the end of 2020, will provide high-speed broadband service to customers in areas underserved by fixed and mobile terrestrial networks via a constellation of low-earth orbit satellites.
The service rose to prominence after supplying antennas and modems to the Ukrainian military in order to improve its communications capabilities during the country’s conflict with Russia.
Starlink is funded by the purchase of antennas, modems, and subscriptions, which vary by country.
Since 2019, nearly 3,000 Starlink satellites have been deployed, and SpaceX is conducting about one launch per week, using its own Falcon 9 rockets to accelerate deployment.
Since former President Donald Trump terminated a 2015 agreement over Iran’s nuclear activities, the US sanctions regime has been tightened.
While current Vice President Joe Biden supports renegotiation of the agreement, Iran’s demand for long-term guarantees from Washington has stymied talks.
New sanctions were imposed on Iran this month in response to a Tehran-based company assisting in the shipment of drones to Russia, as well as a massive cyberattack on Albania in July allegedly carried out by Iran’s intelligence ministry.
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