Elon Musk's Starlink is now active in Iran amid widespread internet outages, academic says after speaking to Musk

Elon Musk's Starlink is now active in Iran amid widespread internet outages, academic says after speaking to Musk
SpaceX CEO Elon Musk.AP
  • Starlink internet is now active in Iran, an academic said on Twitter after speaking to Elon Musk.
  • Karim Sadjadpour said he suspected Iran's government won't support the use of Starlink in the country.

Elon Musk's SpaceX has activated its Starlink service in Iran as the country experiences disruption to its internet network, according to a think tank.

Karim Sadjadpour, a senior fellow at global think tank Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, wrote in a tweet on Sunday that he had spoken with Musk about using Starlink satellite internet in Iran.

Musk granted Sadjadpour permission to share the news that Starlink had been activated in the country, Sadjadpour tweeted.

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"It requires the use of terminals in-country, which I suspect the [Iranian] government will not support, but if anyone can get terminals into Iran, they will work," Sadjadpour tweeted.

Sadjadpour, who is an adjunct professor at Georgetown University, said in a separate tweet there were financial and logistical challenges with getting Starlink terminals to Iran.


"It will cost many millions of dollars to setup and sustain thousands of Starlink terminals to Iran," he said in the tweet. "This challenge is surmountable."

Sadjadpour tweeted that although more than 15,000 Starlink terminals were delivered to Ukraine, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy's government was an ally. He said the Iranian government want to shut down the internet "to repress people in the dark."

People in Iran have reported internet outages after protests started over the death of a 22-year-old woman named Mahsa Amini who died in police custody. Police in Tehran, the capital of Iran, said Amini had been arrested for "justification and education" about the hijab, BBC News reported. The Iranian police denied Amini was mistreated and said her death was "unfortunate."

Internet watchdog NetBlocks said on Monday there was "near-total disruption" to internet connection in parts of Kurdistan province in west Iran, as well as "partial disruption" to internet network in Tehran.

WhatsApp and Instagram were restricted nationally on Wednesday, it added. People in Iran have reported failure in accessing WhatsApp even when using a VPN and proxy, per BBC News.


Musk said on September 19 that Starlink would request an exemption from Iran sanctions to provide internet services in the country. Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced on Friday the US had issued a General License to provide internet to Iranians. In response, Musk tweeted Starlink was in the process of being activated in Iran.

After the billionaire's tweet, broadcaster Iran International reported that Starlink's official website had been blocked in the country.

SpaceX, Sadjadpour, and the Carnegie Endowment didn't immediately respond to Insider's request for comment made outside of normal US working hours.