Iran: Elon Musk promises to activate Starlink to facilitate Internet access

“Activation in progress”. SpaceX CEO Elon Musk said in two words on Friday that he was activating his company’s Starlink satellite internet service, in response to US Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s tweet that the United States has eased sanctions on Iran “to promote Internet freedom and the free flow of information”. ” for Iranians. Iranian authorities have imposed drastic restrictions on the internet, including blocking access to Instagram and WhatsApp.

The US Treasury Department issued guidelines on Friday aimed at expanding internet services available to Iranians despite US sanctions on the country, amid protests in Iran. On Monday, the eccentric billionaire wanted to provide Starlink satellite broadband service to Iran, a service already provided to Ukraine for its fight against the Russian invasion.

A treasury official suggested to reporters that Starlink should seek government permission as the company provides commercial-grade services. But a US State Department spokesman later said Friday’s updated license was self-executing and “any person who meets the criteria set out in this general license may continue its activities without requesting additional permissions.”

Since Mahsa Amini’s death last week, three days after she was arrested by the morality police because her headscarf did not cover her hair well, Iranians have shown their anger. Tehran was the scene of new excesses on Friday night.

Fire

Videos obtained by AFP published on social networks show protesters running in front of the Park Royal hotel, in the north of the capital, in a street with scenes of chaos and several fires located in the streets. At least eight shots of undetermined origin are heard. Other videos show a man in military uniform shooting at demonstrators in the Shahre Rey area of ​​southern Tehran.

These events followed another day of tensions during which the authorities retaliated against “counter-revolutionaries”, “rioters” and “conspirators” by organizing their own demonstrations after Friday prayers. Thousands of people marched in several cities across Iran, including Tehran, Qom (north) or Isfahan (centre). Hundreds of women in chadors marched, carrying signs of support and thanks to the police, according to state television. “Death to the Conspirators”, “Advocate for the end of the veil, it is the policy of the Americans”, read the slogans.

Authorities mobilized hundreds of women in Tehran, chanting pro-vice police slogans. Majid Asgaripour/West Asia News Agency/via REUTERS

The Revolutionary Guard, the ideological army of the Islamic Republic, for its part assured that the recent “conspiracy of the enemy” was “doomed to failure”.

State media on Thursday reported the deaths of 17 people, including five police officers, in the protests. But the toll is likely to be much higher: on Friday, the Oslo-based opposition NGO Iran Human Rights (IHR) said that security forces’ repression had left at least 50 dead, with mobilization expanding to nearly 80 cities in one week. And on Friday, demonstrations in support of Iranian women took place in Belgium, Germany, Chile in particular.

VIDEO. In Iran, protests erupt across the country after the death of Mahsa Amini

Police arrested an unknown number of people, including activist Majid Tavakoli and journalist Nilufar Hamedi, according to people around them.

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi on Thursday promised an investigation into the death of Mahsa Amini, while specifying that the coroner had not reported abuse by the police, which protesters dispute. Authorities continue to allege that the young woman suffered a heart attack at the rehabilitation center where she was sent to learn proper Iranian dress code.

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