Starlink, SpaceX‘s internet service, has already provided countries around the world with desperately needed internet access. However, the company’s next move may prove more difficult.
On Twitter this week, Mr. Musk announced that SpaceX would be asking the U.S. government for an exception to sanctions against Iran so that Starlink internet service could be provided to residents there.
Starlink will ask for an exemption to Iranian sanctions in this regard— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) September 19, 2022
After a rush of initial support for the plan, some Twitter users asked Mr. Musk whether the same internet access could be provided in Cuba, another country with which U.S. sanctions prevent most business transactions.
He responded only with “Ok.”
Neither Iranian or Cuban authorities have commented on Mr. Musk‘s apparent plan and it is unlikely they would be receptive to it, since both countries tightly regulate Internet access but would not be in control of Starlink.
Mr. Musk has not provided details on this plan, raising suspicions about his commitment. Mr. Musk has a history of tweeting about plans but not following through. For example, his expressed desire to buy Twitter has devolved into a legal battle that heads for court next month.
Mr. Musk‘s announcement also comes during days of protests in Iran over the death of a young woman, Mahsa Amini, after she was arrested by Iran’s Islamist religious police.
While authorities deny that they were involved in her death, protesters remain skeptical.
Starlink provided internet access to Ukrainians after Russia invaded earlier this year, infuriating Russian authorities and frustrating some Kremlin war plans.
Starlink is meant for peaceful use only— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) September 17, 2022
• Vaughn Cockayne can be reached at email@example.com.
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