Iran Summons South Korean Envoy Over Samsung Smartphone Gift Row

Iran Summons South Korean Envoy Over Samsung Smartphone Gift Row

Organizers for the Winter Olympics said they will hand free Samsung smartphones to four Iranian athletes without the condition of returning them, amid looming anti-Samsung sentiment in Tehran.

Earlier this week on Wednesday, the organizers of the Pyeongchang 2018 Olympic Winter Games annoucned that athletes from North Korea and Iran would not receive the special "Olympic edition" Galaxy Note 8 smartphones due to "United Nations sanctions".

Giving smartphones to North Korean athletes could violate UN Security Council sanctions banning the supply of luxury goods or electronic devices that can potentially be used for military purposes.

Then the International Olympic Committee said they would be provided for the Games, but the two countries' representatives would be asked to return them afterwards rather than keep them.

The news reports sparked outrage in Iran, prompting the country's Foreign Ministry to summon the South Korean ambassador to Tehran and demand an apology.


IRNA reported Thursday that "an informed source" had said Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif would stop using his Samsung mobile if there was no apology.

The decision apparently came amid looming anti-Samsung sentiment in Iran after reports that their athletes will not be getting the smartphones reached the Middle East country. According to the Yonhap News Agency's Kang Yoon-seung, the 22 North Korean athletes in PyeongChang pre-empted the gifts by declining to accept the Samsung smart phones in the first place.

"Regarding Iran, we can confirm that all participants will be able to keep the phones", it said in a statement late Thursday. "Regarding North Korea, all participants are requested not to take the phones back to their home country", Reuters cited the spokesperson as saying.

Tehran isn't satisfied, and is now targeting Samsung Electronics directly rather than the International Olympic Committee, demanding an apology from the Korean tech giant.

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