SpaceX boss Elon Musk says he will try to bring his Starlink satellite internet service to Iran. The billionaire businessman proposed his plans in a message on Twitter.
Earlier this week, Musk announced on the social media service, “Starlink is now active on every continent, including Antarctica.”
After reading Musk’s tweet, Iranian-born science reporter Erfan Kasraie then sent his own message to the SpaceX boss.
“I’m sure you won’t answer that Mr. Musk, but is it technically possible to make Starlink available to the Iranians?” Kasraie asked. “This could be a game changer for the future.”
Musk replied to Kasraie. He wrote: “Starlink will ask for one liberation to the Iranian sanctions in this regard.” The sanctions he commented on are related to Iran’s nuclear activities. The restrictions prevent a large number of US companies from doing business with Iran.
SpaceX owns and operates Starlink, a network of satellites that are launched into low Earth orbit. As the network is satellite-based, it is designed to bring high-speed internet service to rural and poorly connected areas of the world.
According to SpaceX, the service aims to bring internet speeds of up to 300 megabits per second (Mbps) to all regions of the world. In the United States, the service costs $110 per month, with a one-time cost of $599 for the equipment. The service costs less in some other parts of the world.
To date, 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 Taking to social media in June, the company said the Starlink service has nearly 500,000 users in 32 countries.
Several people have asked Musk on Twitter to provide the satellite-based internet service in Iran.
Musk’s proposal to seek an exemption from offering the service in Iran came amid widespread protests in the country’s Kurdistan province. The area is home to the Kurdish minority in Iran.
The demonstrations were held to protest the death of a 22-year-old woman who died in police custody earlier this month. The woman, Mahsa Amini, was arrested by Iran’s “morality police” officers.
The United Nations Human Rights Office condemned Amini’s death and called for an investigation. According to the UN body, the country’s morality commissioners have stepped up their activities in recent months. They target women for improperly wearing the Islamic head covering known as hijab.
Iranian police have denied mistreating Amini and said she died of a heart attack. Iranian officials said they were investigating the incident.
in iran, Access on social media and some media content is severely restricted. In recent days, internet watch group NetBlocks reported a “near-full” Disturbance to the Internet connection in the capital of the Iranian Kurdish region, where the protests took place.
Shortly after Russia invaded Ukraine, Elon Musk announced that the Starlink service was launched in Ukraine. His announcement came after the NetBlocks group announced that it had confirmed major disruptions to internet service across Ukraine following the start of the invasion.
SpaceX recently said it has deployed more than 15,000 Starlink receivers in Ukraine. Musk said earlier this year that Russian forces were unsuccessful in disrupting Starlink service.
In April, the US Agency for International Development (USAID) announced that it had helped deploy 5,000 Starlink receivers to Ukraine through a “public-private partnership” with SpaceX.
USAID explained the use of the Starlink system in a statement. It said the receivers aim to “allow officials and critical citizen service providers to continue communicating within Ukraine and with the outside world” when other communications services have been disrupted.
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
liberation – n. Special permission not to do or pay for something
sanction – n. an action taken to compel a country to comply with international laws by restricting trade or aid to the country
Access – n. the ability to find or see something
disturb – v. to disrupt normal activity
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