Elon Musk provides Starlink to Iran fighting the Islamic regime
Elon Musk continues to move the lines defining the role of a CEO.
The world’s richest man (estimated at $254 billion on Sept. 22 by the Bloomberg Billionaires Index) has torn apart traditions that say CEOs must shut up and keep their hands off geopolitical affairs to protect profits.
In a world in search of leaders, Musk sees himself filling the void and becoming one of the champions the masses turn to when chaos reigns.
He has also become a kind of guide for world political leaders, alerting them to the issues he considers to be priorities for the planet.
To establish its influence, Tesla (TSLA) CEO masters social networks, where he gives his opinion and interacts daily with users, whoever they are and wherever they are.
He has more than 106.7 million followers on Twitter, a platform that plays an important role in setting daily news. On the microblogging site, messaging also goes the other way: the billionaire’s fans alert him to pressing issues of the moment and he responds.
He is displaying this method right now, as many Iranian citizens and average social media users are asking him for help as the Iranian government tries to crush the protests he is facing.
The protests focus on the death of Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old Iranian woman who was arrested for wearing what the country’s vice squad has deemed to be an unsuitable veil. These authorities enforce laws requiring women to wear headscarves. Amini died in police custody.
“The Islamic regime is killing the people of #Iran PLEASE HELP US AND BE OUR VOICE!” a Twitter user asked him on September 21. “They shut down the internet and now they’re slaughtering people.”
In fact, Musk has a technological tool that can be seen as a weapon against governments that manipulate and repress public opinion, often by blocking outward sources of communication and shutting down the internet.
That tool is Starlink, Musk’s SpaceX satellite internet connection service. This service guarantees secure and independent access to the Internet. It is difficult to hack. Service outages are rare.
It provides Internet access to residents of areas poorly served by the fixed and mobile networks of telecom operators. Thousands of small satellites circulating in low orbit – mostly 550 km above Earth – enable the service.
Musk and his company provided Starlink terminals in volcano-stricken Tonga in the southern Pacific Ocean to provide internet access to isolated and remote villages.
Starlink antennas gained popularity after Musk sent them to Ukraine after Russia invaded the country on February 24. They give Ukrainians independent access to the Internet and allow the country to stay in touch with the outside world. The system is used especially in remote areas as well as places that Russia has bombed.
Musk answers the call
It is therefore not surprising that Iranians hope to be able to benefit from this service when the Iranian authorities seem to have blocked telephone networks and the Internet.
“I’m sure you won’t answer it, Mr. Musk, but is it technically possible to provide Starlink to the Iranian people? This could be a game-changer for the future,” a Twitter user Musk pleaded on September 19. .
“Starlink will seek an exemption from Iranian sanctions in this regard,” the tech mogul replied.
Less than four days after that promise, Musk and SpaceX appear to have filed the exemption request to serve Iran. And they got permission.
“We took action today to advance internet freedom and the free flow of information for the people of Iran, by issuing a blanket license to provide them with greater access to digital communications to counter censorship of the Iranian government,” US Secretary of State Antony Blinken tweeted. September 23.
Musk announced that SpaceX is immediately activating the service in Iran.
“Starlink activation…” the billionaire said without providing further details. For example, it does not say if SpaceX will send antennas there as it did in Ukraine.
As social media users awaited the Iranian government’s reaction to the move – which will no doubt disrupt its efforts against the protests – they hailed the billionaire’s decision.
“Great news #MahsaAmini,” one Twitter user commented.
“This is awesome! Your companies are truly philanthropic. All of them truly care about the betterment of humanity. Thank you Elon for always caring about humanity ❤️,” a Musk fan said.
“For all Iranians reading this: remember that tableware does not need to be visible to the naked eye; it can be covered with fabric, cardboard, plastic, fiberglass… anything with minimal RF attenuation (nothing metallic/conductive or too thick),” another user commented.