SpaceX boss Elon Musk says he will look to bring his Starlink satellite internet service to Iran. The billionaire businessman hinted at his plans in a message on Twitter.
Earlier this week, Musk announced on the social media service: “Starlink is now active on all continents, including Antarctica.”
After reading Musk’s tweet, Iranian-born science reporter Erfan Kasraie posted his own message to the head of SpaceX.
“I’m sure you won’t answer it, Mr. Musk, but is it technically possible to provide Starlink to the Iranians?” Kasraie asked. “It could be a game changer for the future.”
Musk responded to Kasraie. He wrote: “Starlink will ask for a exemption to iranian sanctions in this regard.” The sanctions he commented on are linked to Iran’s nuclear activities. The restrictions prevent a wide range of US companies from doing business with Iran.
SpaceX owns and operates Starlink, a network of satellites launched into near-Earth orbit. Since the network is based on satellites, it is designed to bring high-speed Internet service to poorly connected and rural areas of the world.
SpaceX says that the service aims to produce internet speeds of up to 300 megabits per second (Mbps) in all areas of the world. In the United States, the service costs $110 per month, with a one-time cost of $599 per device. The service costs less in some other parts of the world.
So far, more than 3,000 Starlink satellites have been deployed in space. SpaceX launched the latest set of 54 satellites on Sunday. in a video released on social media in June, the company said the Starlink service had nearly 500,000 users in 32 countries.
Several people asked Musk on Twitter to provide satellite internet service in Iran.
Musk’s suggestion that he will seek an exemption to offer the service in Iran came amid widespread protests in the country’s Kurdistan province. The area is home to Iran’s Kurdish minority.
The demonstrations were held to protest the death earlier this month of a 22-year-old woman who died while in police custody. The woman, Mahsa Amini, was arrested by agents of Iran’s “moral police”.
The United Nations human rights office condemned Amini’s death and called for an investigation. The UN body says the country’s morality officers have expanded their activities in recent months. Women have been attacked for not wearing the Islamic head covering known as the hijab correctly.
Iranian police denied ill-treating Amini, saying he died of a heart attack. Iranian officials have said they are investigating the incident.
in Iran, access to social networks and some multimedia content are severely restricted. In recent days, the Internet watchdog group NetBlocks reported a “near total” breaking off to Internet connectivity in the capital of the Kurdish area of Iran, where the protests took place.
Shortly after Russia invaded Ukraine, Elon Musk announced that the Starlink service had been established in Ukraine. His announcement came after the NetBlocks group said it had confirmed major internet service outages in Ukraine after the invasion began.
SpaceX recently said that it had deployed more than 15,000 Starlink receivers in Ukraine. Musk said earlier this year that Russian forces had been unable to disrupt Starlink service.
In April, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) announced that it had helped provide 5,000 Starlink receivers to Ukraine through a “public-private partnership” with SpaceX.
USAID explained the deployment of the Starlink system in a statement. He said the receivers were intended to allow “civil servants and critical service providers for citizens to continue to communicate within Ukraine and with the outside world” when other communication services were interrupted.
I’m Bryan Lynn.
Bryan Lynn wrote this story for VOA Learning English, based on reports from The Associated Press, Reuters, Agence France-Presse and Twitter.
words in this story
exemption – north. special permission to not have to do something or pay something
sanction – north. an action taken to force a country to obey international law by limiting trade or aid to the country
access – north. the ability to find or see something
interrupt – v. interfere with normal activity
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