(Persia Digest) – Simultaneously with the inauguration of the winter Olympics in South Korea, it was announced that the sponsors Samsung will be giving 4000 Galaxy Note 8 smartphones to athletes as gifts. But, the Olympics Organizing Committee announced that athletes from Iran and N Korea will not receive the gift due to sanctions.
The incident kicked off a wave of reactions in Iran. Many social media users demanded that all Samsung goods should be sanctioned in Iran with the #sanction Samsung.
The Iranian Foreign Minister, Javad Zarif, summoned the S Korean Ambassador in Tehran and it was made clear to him that this incident would affect Samsung trade in Iran. The S Korean Ambassador explained that his government and Samsung were not involved in the decision. Nevertheless, Javad Zarif announced on Thursday that if Samsung did not issue an apology by the afternoon and overturn its decision, he would no longer use his Samsung smartphone.
Iran's Minister of Industry also stated that would also stop using his Samsung mobile unless the company apologized for its insult to Iranian athletes, and added: “It is surprising why the import of the smartphone to Iran is not sanctioned.”
On Friday, Attorney General of Iran, Mohammad Jafari, also summoned Samsung’s representative in Iran to explain about the incident. Shahrokh Shahbazi, Secretary General of the National Olympic Committee of Iran, also said: “Samsun and all those involved in insulting Iranian athletes in the PyeongChang Winter Olympics must apologize to them. The IR of Iran will not remain silent in the face of insults.”
Reactions continued until Friday afternoon, when the Head of the Olympic Games Organizing Committee wrote to the Chef de Mission of the Olympics Committee for Iran to “offer his sincere apologies for the incident”. In a formal statement, Samsung also announced: “The Samsung company was not involved in the International Olympics Committee decision not to give the smartphones to Iranian athletes.”
Despite the apologies issued by S Korean officials, nevertheless, it seems the people of Iran are still unhappy about the insult. In a poll taken by Tabnak News Agency’s website, results show that out of the 17 thousand people taking part, nearly 70% have asked for Samsung to be sanctioned or the sale of its goods be partly limited in Iran.”
As reported by Persia Digest, the latest news on the incident indicate that four Iranian skiers have received an apology from the Winter Olympics organizers and given the gift of Samsung smartphones.