SpaceX will seek exemption from US sanctions against Iran to offer its satellite internet service to the country, owner Elon Musk said Monday.
“Starlink will apply for a sanctions waiver against Iran,” Musk said in response to a tweet from a science reporter.
Musk had initially announced that the Starlink satellite internet service had been made available on every continent — “including Antarctica” — and the company planned to launch up to 42,000 satellites to improve 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” for the country, provoking Musk’s response.
Launched in late 2020, Starlink provides high-speed broadband services to customers in areas poorly served by fixed and mobile terrestrial networks via a constellation of satellites in low Earth orbit.
The service gained notoriety after providing antennas and modems to the Ukrainian military to improve its communications capabilities in its war with Russia.
Starlink earns money by purchasing antennas, modems and subscriptions with rates that vary by country.
Nearly 3,000 Starlink satellites have been deployed since 2019, and SpaceX is conducting about one launch per week, using its own Falcon 9 rockets to accelerate the deployment.
Iran has been under a tightened US sanctions regime since former President Donald Trump canceled a 2015 agreement over its nuclear activities.
While current President Joe Biden supports a renegotiation of the deal, Iran’s insistence on long-term guarantees from Washington has brought discussions to a halt.
New sanctions were imposed on Iran this month after a Tehran-based company helped send drones to Russia, and in response to a massive cyberattack on Albania in July, allegedly carried out by Iran’s intelligence ministry.