Iran's Winter Olympics athletes will get to keep their Samsung smart phones

Organisers had refused to give athletes from Iran North Korea Galaxy Note 8 from sponsor Samsung due to sanctions

Organisers had refused to give athletes from Iran North Korea Galaxy Note 8 from sponsor Samsung due to sanctions

The move, however, may backfire on Samsung, Iranian sports commentator Mostafa Shoughi has told Sputnik.

"Regarding Iran, we can confirm that all participants will be able to keep the phones", an International Olympic Committee official said.

The news infuriated the Iranian government and the country's Foreign Ministry summoned Korea Ambassador Kim Seung-ho on Wednesday local time to object to the Olympic committee's decision.

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.

Athletes from Iran arrive during the opening ceremony of the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea, Friday, Feb. 9, 2018.

"A letter was today sent from Pyeongchang 2018 President Mr Lee Hee-beom.to apologise for the misunderstanding regarding the distribution of mobile phones to the Iranian athletes", a statement from Pyeongchang 2018 said.

Games organisers had refused on Wednesday to give athletes from Iran and North Korea the Galaxy Note 8 devices from sponsor Samsung, loaded with essential logistical and competition information, due to global sanctions.

"Regarding North Korea, all participants are requested not to take the phones back to their home country but to only use them during their stay in PyeongChang, since that is required to allow them to participate in the Games", the International Olympic Committee said.

The country's chief prosecutor reportedly called for the arrest of Samsung's CEO (of which there are three), characterizing the company's refusal to issue phones as an affront to Islam.

"If Samsung does not apologize for its unwise action, this will greatly affect Samsung's trade relations with the Islamic Republic of Iran", the state news agency IRNA quoted Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Qasemi as saying.

The IOC also said it is ready hold a meeting on Saturday with the Iranian athletes as part of a mollifying gesture.

"Samsung Electronics delivered over 4,000 Pyeongchang 2018 Olympic Games Limited Edition - a special edition of Galaxy Note8 - to the IOC and Pyeongchang Organizing Committee".

The phone also features celebratory pre-loaded Pyeongchang 2018 themed wallpapers, allowing recipients to stay connected through Samsung's most advanced mobile technology.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, an Iranian athlete has, meanwhile, told Sputnik that "Samsung issued a Galaxy Note 8 to all athletes participating in the Olympics, including Iranians" and that it had been Korean authorities who "did not hand in the gadgets to Iranian athletes".

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