SpaceX chief Elon Musk says ‘approaching 100’ Starlink terminals now active in Iran, amidst ongoing protests and blocked network access
“Approaching 100 starlinks active in Iran,” Musk said in a Twitter post on Monday.
Musk said in September he would activate Starlink services in Iran as part of a US government-backed effort to “advance internet freedom and the free flow of information” to Iranians.
In late October Iranian political activist Karim Sadjadpour, senior fellow of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, said activists had smuggled dozens of terminals into Iran.
“Efforts have been underway for more than a month to get Starlink terminals to Iran,” he wrote on Twitter at the time.
He said an unnamed group of activists had “sent dozens of terminals to Iran and intend to scale up”.
“Iranian popular demand for unfettered Internet access is enormous,” Sadjadpour said. “iPhones, satellite dishes, and alcohol are all prohibited – the latter two are criminal offenses – yet all are ubiquitous inside Iran.”
He added that Musk had been “gracious with his support”.
Approaching 100 Starlinks active in Iran
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) December 26, 2022
SpaceX has also donated about 2,000 terminals for use in Ukraine amidst infrastructure outages caused by the conflict with Russia, Musk said in October.
He said in mid-October the Ukraine initiative couldn’t be funded “for an indefinite period of time”, and asked for US government funding, but later said he would continue backing the arrangement.
1. Efforts have been underway for more than a month to get Starlink terminals to Iran. One group of activists–who want to stay anonymous to protect their networks–asked me to share this video. They’ve already sent dozens of terminals to Iran and intend to scale up. pic.twitter.com/bvdjeWhhoi
— Karim Sadjadpour (@ksadjadpour) October 21, 2022