The Treasury Department, which said on Tuesday that it welcomes applications to boost internet freedom in the nation, which is mostly cut off from western markets, must grant Elon Musk’s plans to run his satellite internet company in Iran authorization.
Washington, D.C. The Treasury Department, which stated on Tuesday that it welcomes applications to boost internet freedom in the nation that is mostly cut off from Western markets, must grant Elon Musk’s request for approval for his satellite internet company to operate in Iran.
On Monday, the CEO of Tesla tweeted that his satellite internet company, Starlink, would apply for a license to operate in Iran. The next actions for Starlink will be decided by the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control, according to national security adviser Jake Sullivan.
Sullivan stated during a White House press briefing on Tuesday that “we have of course in the past provided for various sorts of exemptions for the ability of the Iranian people to interact with each other and with the world.”
Since 2019, Starlink, a unit of Musk-owned spacecraft manufacturer SpaceX, has been in operation. It spreads out thousands of satellites in Earth’s orbit to offer internet access everywhere.
The company has contracts with the U.S. military going back to 2021 and tried to give internet connectivity to the Ukrainian people during Russia’s invasion.
The Iranian government, which has strict restrictions on internet access, would oppose Starlink’s internet service being made available to the entire public.
A Treasury representative said the Office of Foreign Assets Control welcomes applications for licences to enable operations supporting internet freedom in Iran, but spoke on the condition of anonymity since no application had been submitted.
In order to encourage the free flow of information to Iranian citizens, Treasury’s sanctions arm issued a licence in 2014 allowing the export to Iran of software and services that would provide unrestricted internet communication.
Despite the exemption, businesses have been hesitant to conduct business in Iran out of concern that they may break other laws or sanctions that carry harsh penalties.
However, a source code storage provider called Github stated in January 2021 that it had obtained a license from the Treasury to provide its services to Iranian coders.
According to the company’s website, “We were able to show how developer usage of GitHub supports human progress, global communication, and the longstanding US foreign policy of fostering free expression and the free flow of information.
An Associated Press request for comment was not answered by a SpaceX representative.
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