Elon Musk has disclosed the Iranian regime’s discontent with the launch of Starlink internet services in the country. The regime, amidst widespread internet shutdowns, has had Starlink satellites smuggled into the country.
Owned by Musk’s SpaceX, Starlink aims to provide widespread internet access to the millions affected by the state-imposed shutdowns. Musk shared a letter from the Iranian leadership expressing their dissatisfaction during his meeting with the Israeli Prime Minister in California.
In response to nationwide protests in Iran last year, the government severely restricted citizens’ access to the internet. The restrictions included complete and periodic shutdowns, as well as slowing down internet speeds. In light of these actions, the US government eased some restrictions on exporting internet services to Iran, enabling SpaceX to offer satellite internet services in the country.
The spokesperson for the Iranian Ministry of Foreign Affairs considered the US support for activating satellite internet in Iran a violation of Iran’s sovereignty. They warned of a potential response to such efforts.
Interestingly, it was previously undisclosed that Iran had directly approached Elon Musk to cut off Starlink services. However, this move seems to have been ignored, as there is no news of Starlink being disconnected in Iran even after a year.
In December, the head of the Union of Communication and Telecommunications Devices in Tehran confirmed the entry of 800 Starlink internet receiver devices into Iran. They also mentioned the potential future growth in the use of these devices.
The dissatisfaction expressed by the Iranian regime highlights the impact and importance of Starlink internet services, which aim to bridge the digital divide and provide connectivity to areas with limited access to the internet.