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Musk Touts Iran Starlinks

FILE: In this Tuesday, July 2, 2019 photo, an Iranian woman works on her cell phone outside of a shopping mall in northern Tehran, Iran. Before Iranians can check out the latest offerings on Twitter or YouTube, they must search for the best workaround to bypass official censors.

SpaceX Chief Executive Elon Musk said on Monday that the company is now close to having 100 active Starlinks, the firm's satellite internet service, in Iran, three months after he tweeted he would activate the service there amid protests around the Islamic country, which has tried to create and enforce a "walled internet."

Musk said, "approaching 100 Starlink [Internet satellites} active in Iran", in a tweet on Monday.

The billionaire had said in September that he would activate Starlink in Iran as part of a U.S.-backed effort "to advance internet freedom and the free flow of information" to Iranians.

The satellite-based broadband service could help Iranians circumvent the government's restrictions on accessing the internet and certain social media platforms amid protests around the country.

The Islamic Republic has been engulfed in protests that erupted after the death in September of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini in police custody after being arrested by the morality police for wearing "unsuitable attire".

Iran first exerted strong force against the Internet in 2009 with the election, described as a "sham" by opponents, of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. It moved to create a "closed internet" which would not reach beyond the nation's borders. Since then many western organizations, including VOA, have worked to enable people in the Islamic Republic access outside Internet.

This article waqs prepared with information sourced from Reuters and others.