Several US lawmakers from both parties have called on the US government to allow space company SpaceX to ship antennas for the Starlink satellite internet to Iran despite sanctions. The Finance Ministry must do everything to help people in Iran stay online, the financial news agency Bloomberg quotes as saying: “We have to overcome all the bureaucratic hurdles and get the job done.” With protests raging and Internet lockdowns, the US must do its part to keep Iranian people connected to the rest of the world. The Ministry of Finance then reassured that Starlink accessories were not sanctioned at all and that they were looking forward to licenses.
Past the internet blockades
After massive protests erupted across the country in response to the death of a young Iranian woman after she was arrested by vice squads, SpaceX CEO Elon Musk tweeted that an exemption would be sought to supply Starlink antennas. This could offer people in the Islamic Republic Internet access that is not controlled by the regime. To quell the protests, Tehran first blocked Instagram and Whatsapp and finally the mobile Internet. Internet connections via Starlink would not be affected by such measures, but it is doubtful that the regime in Tehran would tolerate the installation of the antennas.
Even after Musk’s original announcement, the US Treasury Department assured that satellite internet antennas like Starlink are not subject to the draconian US sanctions against Iran. An expert told Bloomberg that some companies fear violating sanctions, even if their products or services are explicitly exempt. This is particularly the case in the case of the severe sanctions against Iran. Then it’ll be a decision that weighs the risk against the potential benefits. Then you have to trust that you are right. Mere assurances from the US Treasury may not be enough.
While the United States is debating how people in Iran can be helped, Internet blocking is being expanded there. This is presumably not just an attempt to deprive people of the opportunity to communicate with each other and with the outside world. Experiences from the past also show that the enforced radio silence is also used to crush the resistance brutally and bloodily without anything getting out. However, many people in Iran are still able to send information out of the country. Among other things, VPN services and the Tor network are used for this. The number of Bridge users from the country had recently skyrocketed.
To home page