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Elon Musk has activated Starlink in response to Blinken’s concerns about internet freedom in Iran.

Elon Musk, CEO of SpaceX, announced on Friday that the company’s satellite internet service, Starlink, would be activated in response to US Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s statement stating the US was taking steps “to encourage internet freedom and the free flow of information” to Iranians.

The US Treasury Department released instructions on Friday to extend internet services available to Iranians despite US sanctions against the country, amid protests across Iran in response to the death of a 22-year-old woman in detention.

“Our understanding of Starlink is that what they give would be commercial grade, and it would be hardware that is not covered in the general licence; so it would be something they would need to put into Treasury,” a Treasury official briefing reporters said.

A spokeswoman for the US State Department later stated that the amended licence was self-executing and that “anyone who fits the criteria described in this general licence can proceed with their operations without asking further approvals.”

Musk was unable to be reached for comment or explanation on Starlink’s permission to operate in Iran.Iranians have been protesting the murder of Mahsa Amini in police custody last week after being seized by morality police for wearing “unsuitable clothes.”

Musk said on Monday that his business wants to give Iranians with Starlink satellite broadband service, which it had earlier delivered to Ukraine in its struggle against Russia’s invasion, and that he would request a sanctions exemption.

According to the US State Department spokeswoman, if SpaceX determines that some operation intended at Iranians requires a specific authorization, “OFAC would welcome and prioritise it.”

“By the same token,” the State Department spokeswoman stated, “if SpaceX decides that their operation is already allowed and has any queries, OFAC welcomes that interaction.”