Elon Musk To Provide Internet Service in Iran

Published on 15 Sep 2022

Elon Musk, Internet Service, Iran

A bipartisan group of legislators urged Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen to let Elon Musk's satellite Internet firm Starlink operate in severely sanctioned Iran during the country's massive demonstrations.

In a letter to Yellen, the legislators noted that Musk "recently announced that SpaceX might seek a license to sell its satellite-based Starlink Internet service to Iran." Musk demanded the exception in a tweet. If such a request for a license is made, we advise you to grant it quickly.

Support From The US Legislation

Reps Claudia Tenney, a New York Republican, with Tom Malinowski, a New Jersey Democrat, spearheaded the letter, which several other politicians also signed. In addition, they urged Treasury to release any required "comfort letters" to firms seeking to supply communications services under formerly awarded general licenses.

Tenney said, "Congress is demanding that the Treasury Department do all in its ability to enable the Iranian people to remain connected to the Internet." We must eliminate all bureaucratic red tape to complete this task.

Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old woman who went into a coma after being imprisoned by Tehran's so-called morality police for allegedly violating Islamic dress standards, passed away on Friday, sparking demonstrations across Iran. Since then, other towns and cities, including Tehran, Karaj, Shiraz, Tabriz, Kerman, Kish Island, Yazd, Neyshapur, Esfahan, and Mashhad, have reported protests.

Malinowski said, "Iranians are flocking to the streets to demand justice for Mahsa." "We must do our share to keep Iranians linked to the rest of the world."

Representative Michael McCaul, the Republican on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, stated in a statement that the United States must "do all in our power" to assist "the courageous Iranians resisting injustice."

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The Treasury’s Take

A Treasury official said that the department currently permits some Internet-related services, including those that employ satellite terminals like Starlink, and that it welcomes requests for particular Internet freedom licenses in Iran.

Daniel Tannebaum, a member at Oliver Wyman, said businesses are sometimes hesitant to expose themselves to the danger of violating US sanctions, even though Treasury specifically authorizes the service they offer. This is particularly true for countries with severe sanctions, such as Iran.

Tannebaum stated, "It becomes a commercial choice based on risk tolerance in the area." "You must have faith that you have the proper controls to qualify for the exemption."

Treasury has started advertising for a "chief sanctions economist" who, according to authorities, will assist in mitigating such fears.


Featured image: Starlink


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