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Elon Musk to Seek Permission from U.S. Treasury Department to Operate His Starlink Internet in Iran

Tesla CEO Elon Musk attends the opening of the Tesla factory Berlin Brandenburg in Gruenheide, Germany, March 22, 2022. AP
Tesla CEO Elon Musk attends the opening of the Tesla factory Berlin Brandenburg in Gruenheide, Germany, March 22, 2022. AP

Elon Musk’s hope to operate his satellite internet firm in Iran requires permission from the Treasury Department, which said Tuesday it welcomes applications to support internet freedom in the country that is largely isolated from Western economies.

The Tesla CEO tweeted Monday that his satellite internet firm Starlink would seek permission to operate in Iran. National security adviser Jake Sullivan said it’s up to Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control to decide on Starlink’s next steps.

“We have of course, in the past, provided for various forms of exemptions for the Iranian people’s ability to communicate with each other and with the world,” Sullivan said during a White House press briefing Tuesday.

Starlink, a division of spacecraft manufacturer SpaceX, also owned by Musk, has been in operation since 2019. It disperses thousands of satellites orbiting the Earth to provide broadband access globally.

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