Washington (The Times Groupe)- A former U.S. official Victoria Coates has urged Elon Musk to activate Iran’s Starlink satellite service after the internet was shut down due to protests over bread prices in southwestern Iran.
Victoria Coates, a senior advisor to the energy secretary in the Trump administration, wrote on Twitter on Saturday that if Musk can provide internet via the satellite constellation Starlink for the Ukrainians, “why can’t we blast it into Khuzestan and let the brave Iranians communicate?”
— Victoria Coates (@VictoriaCoates) May 7, 2022
Internet access has been cut off or significantly slow down in the oil-rich province of Khuzestan since Friday morning, a development that usually signals protests in Iran.
The Iranian authorities deliberately shut down the internet during anti-regime protests to prevent news of unrest reaching the rest of the nation and abroad. This is also done to prevent protesters from galvanizing support in local areas.
SpaceX’s Starlink provides internet access to most of the Earth which is operated by Elon Musk’s company. As a result of Russia’s invasion, Musk made internet available in Ukraine in February.
After Musk’s announcement, Iran’s former communication minister Mohammad-Javad Azari-Jahromi warned the parliament against plans to restrict Internet access, saying “if you don’t provide people with the right service, others will”.