Elon Musk Says ‘Activating Starlink’ In Iran After US Eases Curbs On Internet Services To The Country – Alphabet (NASDAQ:GOOG), Alphabet (NASDAQ:GOOGL)

Iranians could soon regain access to the internet, which was blacked out by the government following recent widespread protests in the country over the death of a woman being held in police custody for breaking a dress code.

What happened: Elon Musk said on Twitter on Friday that he was activating a Starlink internet connection in Iran.

His tweet announcement came in response to a tweet from the US Secretary of State Anton Blinken, who said the US had granted a general license to give the Iranian people “greater access to digital communications” to counter Iranian government censorship.

Earlier Friday, the US Treasury Department granted Iran’s General License D-2 to Support Internet Freedom in Iran, aligning US sanctions guidance with changes in modern technology. This replaces the GL D-1 that has been in force since February 7, 2014.

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The new license extends the exceptions to social media platforms, video conferencing and cloud services, as well as anti-censorship tools and related software.

Iran’s government has shut down internet access for most of the country’s 80 million citizens to prevent the world from watching the crackdown on peaceful protests, the finance ministry said.

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Why it matters: After the Internet ban in Iran, US lawmakers put pressure on the Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen to give Starlink permission to operate in Iran, according to a letter to Yellen published Thursday.

On Monday when researcher and science journalist Erfan Kasraie When Musk asked on Twitter if it was technically possible to make Starlink available to the Iranian people, the billionaire replied that his space company would seek an exemption from Iranian sanctions in this regard.

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Starlink will request an exemption from Iranian sanctions in this regard

— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) September 19, 2022

Starlink entered service in war-torn Ukraine earlier this year when Russian attacks disrupted internet services in the country. When the Ukrainian government made a request to Musk, he acted immediately.

Recently former Chairman and CEO of Alphabet, Inc. Google WELL Eric Schmidt commended Starlink for his role in assisting Ukraine in its plight. He noted that there are about 20,000 Starlink terminals in the country.

Photo via Shutterstock.

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