Samsung smartphones are on the middle of a diplomatic spat between Iran and South Korea that erupted forward of the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang.
The Iranian Olympic Committee mentioned its athletes had been initially excluded from a giveaway of particular version Galaxy Be aware eight telephones that was organized by the organizers of the video games.
“The athletes did not obtain telephones after they arrived in [South] Korea. The explanation given was due to sanctions,” mentioned Mahmoud Abdollahi, spokesman for the Iranian Olympic Committee.
Iran summoned South Korea’s ambassador over the incident and demanded an apology, Iranian state media reported. ISNA, a semi-official Iranian information company, mentioned the South Korean official was warned that the episode may have “dire damaging penalties” for Samsung’s (SSNLF) enterprise in Iran.
The nation’s 4 athletes had been later handed the presents, Abdollahi mentioned.
“The problem is that Iranian athletes weren’t handled equally and this goes in opposition to the spirit of the video games,” he added.
Samsung introduced final month that it might be offering the particular version smartphones “as encouragement to do larger issues on the Olympic Winter Video games.”
The corporate and the PyeongChang Organizing Committee declined to touch upon the dispute with Iran, referring inquiries to the Worldwide Olympic Committee (IOC).
In a press release on Thursday, the IOC mentioned it might present the telephones to all taking part athletes.
“These telephones comprise important logistical and competitors info,” the IOC mentioned.
Iranian athletes will likely be allowed to maintain their gadgets. These from North Korea will likely be requested to “solely use them throughout their keep in PyeongChang,” the IOC added.
Samsung electronics are extensively obtainable in Iran, and never topic to worldwide sanctions. Many Iranians turned to social media to specific their anger on the therapy of the Olympic group and demand a ban on Samsung merchandise.
“Our authorities and president Rohani shouldn’t allowed [sic] any South Korean merchandise to enter Iran!,” tweeted one consumer.
Iran’s semi-officlal information company, FARS, mentioned it was suspending an promoting take care of Samsung.
FARS “has eliminated [Samsung’s] promoting banner from its web site following the unsportsmanlike and dishonest motion taken by Samsung on the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang,” it mentioned in a press release.
— Amir Daftari, Hami Hamedi, Alireza Hajihosseini, Vasco Cotovio and Sophie Jeong contributed to this report.