Thursday, September 29, 2022
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Elon Musk to ask for sanctions exemption to provide internet to Cuba, Iran

SpaceX’s internet connectivity technology may be coming soon to countries sanctioned by the U.S., thanks to CEO Elon Musk.

Starlink, SpaceX’s internet service, has already provided countries around the world with desperately needed internet access. However, the company’s next move may prove more difficult.

On Twitter this week, Mr. Musk announced that SpaceX would be asking the U.S. government for an exception to sanctions against Iran so that Starlink internet service could be provided to residents there.

After a rush of initial support for the plan, some Twitter users asked Mr. Musk whether the same internet access could be provided in Cuba, another country with which U.S. sanctions prevent most business transactions.

He responded only with “Ok.”

Neither Iranian or Cuban authorities have commented on Mr. Musk’s apparent plan and it is unlikely they would be receptive to it, since both countries tightly regulate Internet access but would not be in control of Starlink.

Mr. Musk has not provided details on this plan, raising suspicions about his commitment. Mr. Musk has a history of tweeting about plans but not following through. For example, his expressed desire to buy Twitter has devolved into a legal battle that heads for court next month.

Mr. Musk’s announcement also comes during days of protests in Iran over the death of a young woman, Mahsa Amini, after she was arrested by Iran’s Islamist religious police.

While authorities deny that they were involved in her death, protesters remain skeptical.

Starlink provided internet access to Ukrainians after Russia invaded earlier this year, infuriating Russian authorities and frustrating some Kremlin war plans.

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