Iran warns Samsung over Olympic smartphone snub

Iran warned South Korea’s electronics giant Samsung of “repercussions” on Thursday after its delegation to the Winter Olympics was excluded from a handout of free top-of-the-range smartphones to participants.

South Korea’s ambassador, Kim Seung-Ho, was summoned to the foreign ministry in Tehran, official news agency IRNA reported.

It said the ministry lodged “a strong protest” over Samsung’s “dishonest conduct that is contrary to the spirit of the Olympic Games”.

The ambassador was warned that “if Samsung does not make its excuses… this affair will have strong repercussions on commercial relations between the Samsung Group and the Islamic Republic of Iran”.

Organisers of the Games said Wednesday that athletes from North Korea and Iran would not benefit from the distribution of 4,000 of the Olympics Special Edition of its Galaxy Note 8.

“North Korean and Iranian athletes will be excluded because of existing UN sanctions” against the two countries, a Pyeongchang organising committee spokeswoman told AFP.

It was unclear if the decision was taken by Samsung or the organisers.

Most international sanctions on Iran have been lifted under a 2015 nuclear accord between world powers and Tehran, although curbs remain on the transfer of arms and technology.

Iran, where Samsung has a strong presence on the high street, has sent four athletes to the Games in Pyeongchang.

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