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U.S. Treasury says some satellite internet equipment can be exported to Iran

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The US Treasury said on Tuesday that some satellite internet equipment could be exported to Iran, suggesting that SpaceX CEO Elon Musk may not need a license to provide Starlink satellite service in the country.

On Monday, Musk said the company would request an exemption from sanctions against Iran. “Starlink will request an exemption from Iranian sanctions in this regard,” Musk wrote on Twitter in response to the tweet. Read more

Musk’s tweet did not give more details about his plans, but it came at a time when there was widespread protests in Iran over the death of a woman in police custody. The Treasury Department has not specified whether the license will apply to Musk’s plans.

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Some people on Twitter have asked Musk to provide satellite internet stations. Access to social media and some content is severely restricted in Iran.

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The US Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) has a long-term license that “authorizes the export to Iran of certain hardware, software, and services related to Internet communications, including certain consumer-grade Internet access services and licensed residential consumer satellite stations,” a department spokesperson said in a statement. Statement under the D-1 General License.

“For any exports not covered by existing licenses, OFAC welcomes requests for specific licenses to permit activities that support Internet freedom in Iran,” the statement added.

SpaceX aims to rapidly expand Starlink, and is racing against rival satellite carriers including OneWeb and Amazon.com Inc (AMZN.O) that has yet to launch Project Kuiper.

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(Reporting by Kanishka Singh and Daphne Psalidakis in Washington / Editing by Alistair Bell

Our Standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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