Musk calls for Iran to be exempted from sanctions on internet access

Elon Musk’s hope to operate his satellite internet company in Iran requires permission from the Treasury, which said on Tuesday it would welcome applications to support internet freedom in the country largely isolated from Western economies.

CEO of Tesla chirp On Monday, satellite internet company Starlink will seek permission to operate in Iran. National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan said it is up to the Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control to decide on Starlink’s next steps.

“Of course in the past we’ve made various forms of waivers for the Iranian people’s ability to communicate with each other and with the world,” Sullivan said during a White House news conference on Tuesday.

Starlink, a division of spacecraft maker SpaceX, also owned by Musk, has been in operation since 2019. It disperses thousands of Earth-orbiting satellites to provide broadband access globally.

The company tried to provide Internet access to the Ukrainian people during the Russian invasion and did so Acquired Contracts With the US Army since 2021.

If Starlink internet access is made available to the general Iranian population, it may come at the objection of the government, which tightly controls internet access.

A Treasury spokesperson, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because no request was received, said OFAC welcomes requests for licenses to allow activities that support internet freedom in Iran.

In 2014, the Treasury Department’s sanctions arm Issue a license Allow the export of software and services to Iran that would allow the free exchange of communications over the Internet, with the aim of promoting the free flow of information to Iranian citizens.

Despite this allowance, companies have been reluctant to do business in Iran, due to concerns about violating existing sanctions and other sanctioning laws.

However, in January 2021, Github – the source code storage service – announced that it had obtained a license from the Treasury to provide its services to developers in Iran.

“We have been able to demonstrate how developers’ use of GitHub advances human progress, international communication, and the enduring foreign policy of the United States to promote freedom of expression and the free flow of information,” website States.

A representative from SpaceX did not respond to an Associated Press request for comment.