The Joe Biden administration is discussing the possibilities of deploying Starlink satellites to aid the ongoing protests in Iran, according to a report published by CNN. The US government is currently looking into ways in which it can help the movement in Iran that broke out after Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old woman, died under mysterious circumstances while in detention for not wearing the hijab.
The Iranian government is using a heavy-handed approach to crack down on the protestors, including, according to some reports, solitary confinements, forcible signing of false confessions, and restrictions against using the internet.
A senior official of the Biden government said to CNN, “We have our foot on the gas to do everything we possibly can to support the aspirations of the Iranian people”, further adding, “That is our policy, period. At the same time, it is truly an Iranian movement led by young girls and spreading to other aspects of society. And we do not want to in any way eclipse their movement.”
This is not the first time this year that the United States government has reached out to SpaceX for help in its political affairs. Earlier, it had asked the Elon Musk-headed organisation to provide internet services.
These considerations by the US government come at a time when there are questions being raised about how much Musk can be relied upon. SpaceX has reportedly been asking the US government for millions of dollars in order to keep Starlink running in Ukraine. CNN reports seeing a document in which SpaceX warned the government that it could not keep funding Starlink in war-torn Ukraine “for an indefinite period of time.”
However, after this report came to light, Musk sent out a tweet saying SpaceX had withdrawn its request for funds from the US government. It remains to be seen whether the Biden government keeps relying on SpaceX or finds some other solution to back the Iran protests. Biden is quite determined to support the protests, saying in one statement that his government “stands with Iranian women and all the citizens of Iran who are inspiring the world with their bravery”.