Lawmakers reportedly urged the Treasury Department to grant approval if SpaceX seeks licensing permission to make its Starlink service available in Iran.
The bipartisan group of lawmakers, led by Reps. Claudia Tenney of New York and Tom Malinowski of New Jersey, urged in a letter to the Treasury Department that if SpaceX submits such a request, the agency should “approve it immediately,” Bloomberg News reported Thursday.
It should send “comfort letters” as needed to companies with existing general licenses potentially aiming to offer Iranians communications-related services, they reportedly also wrote.
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The letter comes after SpaceX founder Elon Musk tweeted Monday that Starlink “will ask for an exemption to Iranian sanctions in this regard.”
Protests erupted in Iran last weekend over the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini following her detainment by Iran’s morality police. She died after falling into a coma while being detained on an accusation of violating a law related to hijabs.
As widespread protests continued Monday, internet monitor NetBlocks reported a “near-total disruption” of internet service in the Kurdistan province and additional telecommunications blackouts in other areas in the country.
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“It’s our policy to stand with the Iranian people,” Tenney wrote in a tweet about the bipartisan letter. “We must do everything we can in this moment to make sure their voices are heard.”
The Treasury Department “welcomes” companies to apply for specific licenses for Iranian internet freedom, a spokesperson for the agency said, according to Bloomberg. Some internet communications-related services that use satellite terminals or other methods are already permitted, the spokesperson reportedly also said.
FOX Business reached out to the Treasury Department and SpaceX for comment.
Source: Fox Business