Science

Olympics committee apologies to Iran over Samsung 'misunderstanding'

Olympics committee apologies to Iran over Samsung 'misunderstanding'

The International Olympic Committee first announced this week that Iranian athletes would not be receiving free smartphones for the PyeongChang Winter Olympics due to international sanctions on the country.

Iran's Foreign Ministry has summoned South Korean's ambassador to protest the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics organizers' move to exclude Iranian athletes from the list of competitors receiving smartphones because of what they have cited United Nations sanctions.

The IOC stepped in late on Thursday to say athletes from both countries would receive the phones, but that the North Koreans would be asked not to take the devices home.

If Samsung Electronics does not withdraw from its decision until Thursday afternoon, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad-Javad Zarif will not use Samsung any more as he has it now as his cell phone, the source told Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA).

Samsung sought to distance itself from the spat, saying in a statement that it was "not responsible for the distribution of the phones" and referring questions to Olympics organizers.

On Friday, Games organizers POCOG said: "A letter was today sent from POCOG President Mr Lee Hee-beom to the Chef de Mission of the National Olympic Committee of the Islamic Republic of Iran to apologize for the misunderstanding regarding the distribution of mobile phones to the Iranian athletes".




The envoy has assured Iran of frequent contacts with South Korea's foreign ministry and government to pursue the case, Qassemi added, quoting the ambassador as saying that South Korean government authorities and Samsung officials have denied any involvement in handing out the smartphones.

Irna reported that Telecoms Minister Mohammad-Javad Azari Jahromi was looking into the issue, and was considering whether to block imports of Samsung phones.

The press service of the 2018 Olympics' Organizing Committee, for its part, told Sputnik that "the issue of Samsung phones is the prerogative of the IOC [International Olympic Committee] because neither the Organizing Committee nor Samsung has such rights".

Iran has four competitors at the Olympics which run from February 9 to February 25.

Although they backtracked the following day, the incident caused a storm in Iran where Samsung had a major presence. Iran had lodged "a strong protest" over Samsung's "dishonest conduct that is contrary to the spirit of the Olympic Games".


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