Musk: Starlink to seek sanctions exemption amid Iran turmoil

TEHRAN (NewsNation) — Elon Musk said SpaceX will ask for an exemption from sanctions against Iran to provide the firm’s Starlink satellite broadband service in the country.

Some Twitter users have asked Musk to provide the satellite-based internet stations amid protests following the death of a woman who was being held in the custody of the country’s Guidance Patrol — also known as the morality police. Her death has sparked days of protests in Tehran and prompted fears of an internet crackdown. 

According to the independent internet monitor NetBlocks, a “significant internet outage” was registered in Tehran on Sept. 16. Network data showed connectivity rates at 67% of “ordinary levels.”

The Washington Post, citing state media, reports Mahsa Amini, 22, a Kurdish woman from western Iran, was detained as she exited a metro station and suffered a heart attack, and then went into a coma while in custody. Activists believe she may have been beaten by police.

In this Monday, Sept. 19, 2022, photo taken by an individual not employed by the Associated Press and obtained by the AP outside Iran, a police motorcycle is burning during a protest over the death of a young woman who had been detained for violating the country’s conservative dress code, in downtown Tehran, Iran. (AP Photo)

Clashes between protesters and security forces in Tehran and other unrest have claimed at least three lives, according to the Associated Press.

The U.N. human rights office has called for an investigation. The United States, which is trying to revive the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran, called on the Islamic Republic to end its “systemic persecution” of women. Italy also condemned her death.

“Mahsa Amini’s tragic death and allegations of torture and ill-treatment must be promptly, impartially and effectively investigated by an independent competent authority,” said Nada Al-Nashif, the acting U.N. high commissioner for human rights.

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Iranian officials have dismissed the criticism as politically motivated and accused unnamed foreign countries of fomenting the unrest.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.