SpaceX will apply for an exemption from US sanctions against Iran in an effort to offer satellite internet service to the country, owner Elon Musk said on Monday.
“Starlink will apply for an exemption from sanctions against Iran,” Musk said in response to a tweet from a science reporter.
Musk initially announced that Starlink satellite internet service was being made available on every continent — “including Antarctica” — as the company plans to launch up to 42,000 satellites to boost connectivity.
Iranian-born science journalist Irfan Kasrai said on Twitter that bringing the service to Iran could be a “real game changer for the future” of the country, prompting a response from Musk.
Launched in late 2020, Starlink delivers high-speed broadband services to customers in areas underserved by fixed and mobile terrestrial networks via a constellation of low-Earth orbit satellites.
The service gained notoriety after supplying antennas and modems to the Ukrainian military to improve communications capabilities during the war with Russia.
Starlink is monetized through the purchase of antennas, modems and subscriptions with rates varying by country.
Nearly 3,000 Starlink satellites have been deployed since 2019, and SpaceX is launching about one a week using its own Falcon 9 rocket to speed up its deployments.
US sanctions on Iran have been tightened since former President Donald Trump canceled the 2015 deal.
While current President Joe Biden supports renegotiating the deal, Iran’s insistence on long-term guarantees from Washington has stalled talks.
New sanctions were imposed on Iran this month after a Tehran-based company helped send drones to Russia and in response to an alleged cyber attack by Iran’s intelligence ministry targeting Albania in July.